The Latest Articles
A selection of our latest articles to support your journey to and through the boardroom.
2020: Steady Progress Towards 40%
The percentage of women on boards has been rising slowly, but steadily, across the wide range of sectors reported in the biennial WOB Boardroom Gender Diversity Index.
Cultural Diversity on Boards
Women on Boards supports culturally diverse women to access board and leadership roles and has established a Cultural Diversity Working Group to progress action on this issue.
Key Covid learnings and what we can do different post pandemic.
Brilliant board papers for effective decision-making and good governance
Good board papers ensure your key decision-makers have well-written, relevant, and accurate information to support their decision-making. This practical guide will equip you and your organisation with the knowledge and skills to improve your organisation’s board papers. We have included guidelines for board paper preparation, a how-to guide to developing an internal board papers process policy, and a sample board paper.
What to expect when you join a board?
Joining a board can be a daunting experience. Aside from the fact you are now part of the governing body for a company / organisation with attendant governance responsibilities, there are a myriad of basic things to tick off your To Do list.
40:40:20 Gender Balance
Women on Boards vision since 2006 has been: "To increase the number of women on boards and in leadership roles to achieve a gender balance of 40% women, 40% men and 20% of either, and/or other genders."
Articles from during the Pandemic - Governance Implications
For both businesses and government, governing during a pandemic requires acting quickly and cooperatively. Infectious disease outbreaks like Coronavirus COVID-19 primarily impact organisations in terms of operations and people. If you are a Non Executive Director it's important that you are across the issues and know how they will impact your organisation. We've collated reference material that you might find valuable to help determine the necessary steps to mitigate risk in your organisation.
Stuck trying to do it on your own? Access WOBs expert CV services.
Great selection of tried and tested articles. Something for everyone in this selection.
Key reports collated by Women on Boards since inception with the express intention of providing insightful resources for you during your career leadership and boardroom years.
Government | Click to Register
Thousands of State and Federal Government Board and Committee roles are on offer every year - many via WOB. They are suited to the first time and more experienced directors.
2018: WOB calls for 40:40 by 2020
Of the 15 sectors analysed only some state governments, the Federal Government, Not For Profits, Affordable Housing, some health boards and University boards made the 40% grade. WOB has advocated for a minimum of 40% of the under-represented gender to the target for all boards for at least 10 years. With the support of the mighty WOB network it has put thousands of women on boards
Bain and Company Reports
Bain and Company have written numerous articles pertaining to gender parity. WOB have collated some of these for your review.
Gender lens on the budget
WOB supports the independent review of the Federal Budget completed each year by the National Foundation for Australian Women (NFAW) and its 36 subject matter experts. This non-partisan analysis of the Federal Budget makes recommendations across a range of policy areas – workplace relations, health, education, housing, domestic violence, taxation, superannuation and more, as well as some related to machinery of government and data collection. In 2020, the work has taken a critical look at the impact of COVID and how economic stimulus is unevenly distributed when it comes to gender.
Governance News - Interview with Professor Ngaire Woods
Professor Ngaire Woods CBE, founding Dean of the Blavatnik School of Government and Professor of Global Economic Governance at Oxford University discusses how governments can build back with business and not-for-profits after the crisis of 2020.
Engaging and managing your workforce
The 2020's were predicted to the decade of remote working. Three months into the new decade and the world has surpassed all milestones. What does remote working look like? Will the end of COVID-19 leave us gasping to get back to the office?
How are you coping?
Since WWII there has never been an occasion where the phrase "We are all in this together" resounds more appropriately. While the reputable news outlets and our Governments are doing a fine job of keeping us up to date on the stats & facts, there is a very human side to Coronavirus COVID-19 being expressed every day on social media and in blogs, columns and comment pieces. WOB invites thoughtful comments, stories and experiences to share on our website.
Shareholders - Enrol your toenails!
In this article, WOB Chair, Ruth Medd, gives a new take on the responsibilities of shareholders in enabling the success of new companies. In this instance in the highly charged world of biotech which, with the COVID pandemic threatening our world, can be seen as critical to our future.
Catalyst is a global nonprofit working with some of the world's most powerful CEOs and leading companies to build workplaces that work for women.
Catalyst helps organisations remove barriers and drive change with pioneering research, some of which WOB has provide for your review.
Sport | Click to Register
Sporting organisations exist from community to national level and span club sports in all desciplines and the 100+ National Sporting Organisations of which most are funded by the Australian Government.
Paid Parental Leave
Women on Boards was part of the coalition of women that lobbied for universal Paid Parental Leave, which was introduced at 18 weeks paid at the national minimum wage on 1 January 2011. It defended the scheme against proposed changes under the Abbott Government in 2015 and in 2017 put forward a hybird model to the Government, based on a model of 26 weeks PPL.
A free trial of a cost effective board evaluation service that provides you with great access to a wide range of governance tools.
Gender Balance in Global Sport
In 2014 Women on Boards authored the inaugural Gender Balance in Global Sport Report, which was subsequently updated in 2016.
Lord Davies Reports
Lord Davies of Abersoch, a former British banker and Labour government minister and currently a non-executive chair has written a number of reports regarding the FTSE and women on these boards in efforts to achieve female parity.
Thinking beyond COVID-19
In times of crisis our first responsibility as company directors is the health and safety of our workforce. COVID-19 will eventually be tamed. The question is are you prepared for the world after COVID-19?
There is no doubt that isolation and our new way of living and working due to Coronavirus has provided some lighter moments. We respectfully share the lighter side, fully acknowledging the seriousness of Cornavirus and those affected.
Director liability for environmental offences
Did you know that directors and managers can be liable for environmental offences committed by a corporation?
There are strong policy reasons for holding directors liable for environmental offences by corporations. And it is not enough to simply leave compliance with environmental laws to others – directors and managers need to take an active role.
Committees and Coalitions
Women on Boards works with a range of organisations and informal groups to maximise its contribution to policy development.
2012: Small increase in percentage of women on boards
There have been small, but encouraging, signs that the recent gains in the number of female directors on the boards of ASX200 companies are being matched in other key sectors in the economy, according to findings from the latest WOB Boardroom Diversity Index (BDI).
The Seaweed Saga
Ruth reviews an article about FutureFeed, an organisation that has been licensed to distribute a new seaweed that farmers hope will produce the world’s first commercial-size crops of asparagopsis.
Coronavirus COVID-19 is impacting all of our lives, our communities, our governments and our organisations. Thousands of decisions are being made daily - mostly on the run in an ever changing situation. Decisions made today will be wrong tomorrow. Impacts will be severe - even catastrophic. Its important to be informed.
To Pay or not to pay – That may be the question?
Should directors of NFP’s be remunerated? I have been an advocate for directors of Not For Profit companies that run a business to be remunerated for some time. So, what are the pros and cons?
The Art of Minute Taking
Effective minute taking is an art form that takes experience to master – but when done skilfully, it can make all the difference. In this article, we examine the legal requirements that apply to board minutes, discuss various minute recording practices, and provide tips to assist boards in ensuring their minutes are effective, compliant and appropriate for their circumstances.
Director tax liability increases
Under the director penalty regime (DPR) company directors are now liable for all of a company's PAYG liability, GST, luxury car tax, wine equalisation tax liabilities and SGC liabilities.
Coffee shop commerce – Ruth’s Travels
With COVID restrictions being lifted in NSW, last week WOB Chair Ruth Medd made the pilgrimage to Cairns and Mission Beach for the first time since December 2019. She said it was very pleasing to see venues complying with COVID safety regimes. Read on for a run-down of her coffee shop meeting and catch ups.
Five Important Qualities for Successful Boards
As a corporate and commercial partner at law firm Holding Redlich and a member of three boards - Infrastructure Association of Queensland, Professional Engineers Queensland and Redkite, Suzy Cairney has learned a thing or two about boards. Here she discusses the five key qualities that she deems important for successful board members to have.
Experienced Non-Executive Director, Cheryl Hayman ponders the difference between Good versus Great Leaders.
Industrial Manslaughter and Director Liability
With Queensland’s first industrial manslaughter prosecution imposing a $3 million fine and suspended jail sentence for the company's two directors, this case serves as a a significant milestone for work health and safety laws in Australia and a benchmark for future prosecutions.
Queensland, Victoria, ACT and NT have now introduced industrial manslaughter, with directors facing potential fines and jail. Western Australia's legalisation has been passed and is awaiting proclamation. NSW and SA are yet to introduce industrial manslaughter. Read more....
Ruth's Review - Director Trends and Posting Tips
In this article Ruth explores current trends board recruitment trends as we progress through COVID, shares our most popular vacancies and provides some tips to consider when posting a vacancy.
The Accidental Advisory Board Member
In this article Ruth explains how a telephone survey resulted in her joining an Advisory Board and reviews three online and board management products - timely given COVID-19 necessitates boards to operate "virtually".
There's no prescriptive pathway to the boardroom
WOB was delighted to have Michelle McLean as our keynote at a Boardroom lunch in Melbourne. Michelle is a portfolio director with three current directorships at the CFA (Deputy Chair), East Gippsland Water and FrontierSI. A key message from Michelle was that there is no one pathway to the boardroom. Rather it’s a series of sometime serendipitous steps, but more usually, some planning and, as her story also demonstrated, a great deal of persistence.
Advice to my younger NED self
It was a big decision for Liz Savage to step out of her executive career in the airline business and into life as a Non-Executive Director. The former Chief Commercial Officer of Virgin Australia has capitalised on her experience in disruptive customer-intensive businesses to build an exciting & varied portfolio of Board roles. Liz’s NED roles to date include at Auckland Airport, Intrepid Travel, Brisbane Marketing, Mantra Hotels and Triathlon Australia.
Directors are facing unprecedented scrutiny following many high profile cases that were uncovered by the
Hayne Royal Commission, AUSTRAC, the media or were self reported. Many executives have either resigned, been terminated or have had their pay cut as a result.
Plan for the Unexpected
Unexpected events can hit your organisation at any time without warning. A crisis can negatively impact the entire organisation, its stakeholders and can cause long term reputational and financial damage.
Are you ready for ESG and Climate Risk?
Insufficient attention is being paid to environmental social governance (ESG) and climate risk, despite the strong likelihood that it will impact business in the future, according to findings from a recent WOB survey.
Executive remuneration and building investor trust
Executive remuneration was front of mind for investors in the last AGM season, and there’s no doubt it will continue to be of paramount importance again this year. In this whitepaper, Computershare unpacks some of the central themes examined by key stakeholders including listed companies and remuneration advisors, to help guide thinking and provide ways to effectively manage this contentious topic this AGM season.
Board Minutes: The ‘ounce of intrinsic merit or demerit’
The recently released ‘Joint statement on boards minutes’ by The Governance Institute and Australian Institute of Company Directors is a must read for all current and aspiring board members.
Based on TGI and AICD member feedback and a legal opinion from WOB member, Dominque Hogan-Doran SC, and Douglas Gration, the statement contains an excellent overview of the key principles of board minutes and what are essentially best practice recommendations.
The legal opinion is appended at the end of the document and contains references to major cases where the court reaffirmed the minutes as a true and accurate record of board decisions.
The Accidental Chair - An Alternate Board Pathway
While bike riding through Europe, WOB Chair Ruth Medd had some time to reflect on her own recent Board pathway. In this article she reflects on the powers of serendipity and being open to opportunties and provides her insights on getting on board early stage companies, whether investing is a sound mechanism to obtain a board or even a Chair’s role and how her love of chocolate led her to accidentally became Chair of Charley's Chocolates.