No more all-male boards on ASX200, but there's still work to be done

By Women on Boards Executive Director, Claire Braund

The news that none of the ASX200 companies are devoid of at least one female board member has been celebrated around the markets with great fanfare, writes Women on Boards Executive Director, Claire Braund.


While the capitulation of the traditional laggards in the WA minerals, mining and energy sectors is good news, let's not lose sight of the fact that only 30% of boards seats on the ASX200 are held by women. 

Much has also been made of the fact that the Australia achieved this milestone without the introduction of quotas, but it has taken us 12 years to get there.

By my reckoning, it will be at least another 10 years before we hit 40%, which is the target all other sectors are already at or very close to achieving.

As for the next 300 companies by market capitalisation, there are 79 companies in this group without a woman on their board and a further 90 with only one woman. The entire group of 300 companies has 22% female representation at board level.

This is actually a very big problem given that the ASX200 is not open to many men or women seeking to cut their teeth in the ASX and it's often in the ASX200+ where they find their first listed role.

If greater attention is not paid to changing the board culture in the ASX200+ then we are in danger of the top end of town carrying on its inevitable march to 40% and the ASX200+ left far behind.

In July this year I wrote that the AICD Chairs Mentoring Program needs to be mentoring the chairs and directors of ASX listed companies – rather than potential female directors – to start to meaningfully shift the culture around female appointments to the top role.

My view has not changed with the news that all ASX200 boards now have at least one woman.

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