Anglo women’s boardroom representation at historically high levels

While there is a paucity of culturally diverse men or women in Australian boardrooms, female representation on boards has been rising steadily across range of sectors tracked by WOB since 2010.

In the 1,781 boards measured for the 2020 Boardroom Gender Diversity Index only those of ASX companies ranked between 201 – 300 continue to have fewer than 25% females on their boards. *

“At 23% the ASX201 – 300 and beyond remains the serial underperformer in gender balance on boards. All other sectors have at least hit 30% - with many hitting the 40:40:20 gender balance target advocated by WOB since we commenced the BGDI in 2010.”

“If you delve into the data, the number of organisations without female representation at the governing level has dropped year on year. This is very encouraging and shows that many organisations are casting the net wider when looking for candidates and are realising they need to tap the entire gender talent pool”, Braund said.

“However, there is work to be done in sectors that continue to hover around 30%, with some sectors showing signs of stagnation.”

“This includes the credit unions and building societies, which remain at just over 31% female representation and contain some interesting examples of governance boards.”

About the Data

The data was collected in January 2020. Some datasets (not ASX) were updated in September 2020. This has been reflected on the spreadsheets that are available on our website.

* The WOB BGDI does not include private companies or companies listed at ASX300+, which are picked up in the Workplace Gender Equality Agency data which shows all Australian boards in the organisations it measures at closer to 26%.

Key Statistics

Most significant gains since 2016

Since the 2016 BGDI the sectors that have made the most significant (< 10%) gains in the percentage of women on boards are:

  • State Owned Corporations in Victoria (+16.2%), Tasmania (+10.1%), Western Australia (+19.9%) and Queensland (+13.9%)
  • Medical Colleges (+ 18%)
  • Health Funds (+ 11.3%)
  • R&D Corporations (+ 10.5%)
  • University Governing Bodies (+10.6%)

Sectors below 40%

Those that remain below the 40:40:20 gender balance target advocated by WOB since we commenced the BGDI in 2010 are:

  • ASX 100 (33.5%)
  • ASX200 (30%)
  • ASX300 (28%)
  • ASX201-300 (23.2%)
  • Credit Unions / Building Societies / AOB (31.3%)
  • Cooperative Research Centres (30.1%)
  • State Owned Corporations NSW (35%)
  • Healthfunds (37.7%)
  • Medical Colleges (38.4%)
  • Research and Development Corporations (32.7%)
  • Regional Development Australia Committees (38.7%)
  • Superannuation Trustees (37.5%)

Sectors above 40%

There are now a strong representation of sectors with more than 40% women on boards. The 15 boards regulated by the Australian Health Practitioner Regulation Agency sit at 62% so may need to look for some suitably experienced and qualified male candidates in future selection processes.

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