For many people, it’s simple common sense. Gender diverse boards offer more diverse ideas and better decision-making.
But for those who need the proof, new research from the Centre for Gender Economics and Innovation and Infinitas Asset Management offers some compelling data. Indeed, the 34 all-bloke boards on the ASX 200 have some work to do when it comes to financial performance.
The research launched today finds that companies with at least 25% female representation on their boards perform 7% better than those with men only, and 2% better than those that are male-dominated.
These are stats that will continue to be tracked via the Infinitas/C4GEi Diversity Index, enabling investors to benchmark the performance of ASX 200 companies with more than 25% female representation on their boards. Currently, 63 companies make the qualification cutoff required, including all the major banks.
C4GEi founder Susanne Moore said that despite the enormous purchasing power women have, women continue to be left out of the decision-making process of large organisations. She said the Index highlights the shareholder and consumer value of gender diverse boards.
On hand for today’s launch, interestingly in front of more men than women in the audience, were Labor Senator Claire Moore, Liberal Senator Marise Payne and Greens Senator Larissa Waters.
All three senators noted that while corporate Australia has made progress, there is still a significant amount of work to do. They expressed support for the Index, noting that ‘speaking the language of business’ can help facilitate change.
“This is going to be, it has to be, a huge incentive for businesses to take gender diversity in their leadership seriously, or take a hit to their bottom lines,” said Senator Payne, Minister for Human Services who was representing the Government on behalf of the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Senator Michaela Cash.
Shadow Minister for Women Senator Moore said that the next step is actually making uncomfortable change happen. “We keep stumbling across the word merit. I’m leading a push to wipe that word from the English language … It’s only ever used as an obstacle.”
Infinitas CEO Steve Macdonald said his firm has developed a number of products and services around the diversity index, and that the measure for inclusion will rise as boards get more gender diverse.
“We’ll be increasing the qualification level overtime. Our target is to get to fifty per cent,” he said.
“The real target is for the diversity index to be redundant, once gender diversity is widely embraced.”
Would you consider completing Deloitte Private’s inaugural survey into diversity and inclusion on private company/family business boards? It will take about 10 minutes to complete.