The first attempt to measure the number of women on boards was started by Women on Boards in 2009, when Claire Braund and Ruth Medd had an idea to track numbers of women on the boards of credit unions, superannuation funds, national sporting bodies, Cooperative Research Centres, top government business boards, and rural research and development corporations.
“It also shows that the percentage of companies without a female director marginally increased in 2009 to 53 per cent – an embarrassing statistic for the ASX community.”
Eleven companies added at least one female to their board in 2009. Medd congratulated these Chairmen, many of whom are active in the public debate about the need for more diversity and more women on public company boards.
These findings, along with comments made by leading male and female directors in the media in recent weeks, demonstrate there is a strong push for public companies to set gender targets and be publicly accountable for them,” Medd said.
The good guys
The following companies added at least one woman to their board since 2008.
The top 10 laggards (by capitalisation)
- Pacific Brands (from two to four women) Chairman James MacKenzie
- Westpac (from two to three women) Chairman Ted Evans
- Aristocrat Leisure (from two to three women) Chairman David Simpson
- Wesfarmers, Chairman Bob Every
- Origin Energy, Chairman Kevin McCann
- Coca Cola Amatil, Chairman David Gonski
- Computershare, Chairman Christopher Morris
- Tabcorp, Chairman John Story
- OneSteel, Chairman Peter Smedley
- Caltex, Chairman Elizabeth Bryant
- Spark Infrastructure, Chairman Stephen Johns
- Newcrest Mining Limited, Chairman Don Mercer
- Fortescue Metals Group Ltd, Chairman Herb Elliot
- Leighton Holdings Limited, Chairman David Mortimer
- Oil Search Limited, Chairman Brian Horwood
- Toll Holdings, Chairman Ray Horsburgh
- Sonic Healthcare Limited, Chairman Barry Patterson
- Asciano Group, Chairman Malcolm Broomhead
- Incitec Pivot Limited, Chairman John Watson
There are fewer female directors on the boards of ASX200 companies in South Australia and Western Australia than in any other states a new study has found.
Claire Braund, Executive Director Women on Boards, said a state by state analysis of directors of ASX200 companies showed that NSW and Victoria were states where women were most likely to hold ASX200 directorships, while Queensland ranked in the middle.
Nationally, female participation on ASX200 company boards is just 8.7 per cent.
“The really surprising statistic is South Australia, where there is one female director (Jenny Hill-Ling of Hills Industries) from the 50 serving on the seven ASX200 companies headquartered there.”
“This is in stark contrast to the numbers of women on South Australian Government board and committees which is the nations’ best at almost 50 per cent – a statistic directly attributable to the publicly stated commitment of the premier and government to set and implement gender targets.”
Braund said that gender diversity was just like any other business benchmark that needed to be set, tracked and reported against.
“Accountability is the key to success. To really kick start change ASX companies must set and report against gender KPIs for senior leadership and board roles and tie these to executive remuneration.”
She said Women on Boards has put ASX200 companies on notice that unless there is a real and sustained increase in the numbers of women on their boards within three years, it will lobby for the introduction of mandatory quotas.
The ASX200 data is part of the WOB Boardroom Diversity Index that will also track numbers of women on the boards of credit unions, superannuation funds, national sporting bodies, Cooperative Research Centres, top government business boards, and rural research and development corporations.