21 June 2012
The BDI tracks the representation of women on the boards of 850 organisations across Australia on an annual basis. The data is current as of January 2012.
The 2012 index shows that sectors including superannuation, credit unions, health and sport have shown small increases in the percentage of women on the boards of their organisations in the past year.
Directors of Women on Boards, Claire Braund and Ruth Medd, said the 2012 BDI findings were encouraging and showed that organisations were paying attention to the issue of boardroom diversity.
However they cautioned there was still a lot of work to be done as there should be at least 40 percent of women on the boards of the majority of the organisations listed in the BDI.
"The number of organisations with more than 25 per cent women on their boards has increased and the number of those without a woman on their board has fallen, however the latter is still unacceptably high at 24 percent.
These organisations are failing in their responsibilities to customers, shareholders and society," Ms Braund said.
The sectors with the largest increases since 2011 are the ASX200 and the Australian Government. Those with the highest representation are the State Owned Corporations in Queensland and South Australia.
Women on Boards commended the Federal Government on its 40:40:20 targets for its boards and committees, saying this would improve governance, accountability and selection and appointment processes.
“Targets are a great way of requiring organisations to broaden their search parameters and selection criteria and go beyond those areas they have traditionally used to source directors,” Ms Braund said.
Analysis by sector
- 13.9 per cent of directorship positions are held by women
- 32 per cent (64) of companies do not have a woman on their board
- 18 per cent (36) of companies have met the Women on Boards target of having 25 per cent female directors by 2012.
The ASX has seen the highest level of percentage increase of female appointments across the Boardroom Diversity Index. From a low base of 8.3 per cent in 2008 the percentage of ASX200 board positions held by women has grown by 5.6 per cent to 13.9 per cent in March 2012. The gender statistics improve as you move up the ASX, with boards of ASX50 companies having 18 per cent of their directorships held by women. In December 2009 there were 105 companies in the ASX200 without a female director. This has fallen to 64 in March 2012. The majority of these companies are in the energy and materials sectors.
- 7.6 per cent of directorships are held by women
- 64 per cent (60) companies do not have a women on their board
- 6 per cent (5) companies have met the Women on Boards target of having 25 per cent female directors by 2012.
There has been an increase in the numbers of women on ASX201-300 boards, up from 4.3 per cent in June 2010 to 7.6 per cent in 2012. Of the 565 directors, 43 are women. There are 60 companies without a woman on their board, the majority in the energy and materials sectors.#
Cooperative Research Centres
- 18.2 percent of directorships are held by women
- 18 per cent (8) do not have a woman on their board
- 27 per cent (13) have 25 percent or more of directorships held by women
The percentage of women serving on the boards of CRCs in 2012 has fallen slightly since 2011. Historically CRCs have been difficult for women as the boards are usually comprised of the individual or organisational representatives who drive the successful bid to establish the CRC. However the boards of CRCs are becoming more professional and some now include independent paid directors. As a major funder the Australian government should consider adopting board diversity policies consistent with those for Australian Government boards generally.
- 21.2 per cent of directorship positions are held by women
- 17 per cent (19) do not have a woman on their board
- 39 per cent (43) have 25 percent or more of directorships held by women
The percentage of women on credit unions and building society boards has increased slightly since 2011, up from 18.4 to 21.2 per cent (157 of 740 directors). The sector continues to undergo restructuring and amalgamation, with the numbers of credit unions and building societies falling to 109 for the 2012 BDI. Election to credit unions is via membership vote and nominees usually need to be an account holder to nominate. It is an environment where qualified women should be able to compete on a relatively level playing field and gain useful experience to move into larger (including ASX) boards. However, vacancies on some credit unions are often not widely advertised and incumbents (or their designated replacements) are often re-elected.
Government – Australian
Of those boards and committees whose chairs earn a minimum of $20,000 per annum as per the Remuneration Tribunal Determination:
- 35.9 percent of board memberships are held by women
- 4 per cent (3) do not have a woman on their board
- 81 per cent (68) of these boards have 25 percent or more memberships held by women
There has been almost a five per cent increase in the female membership of top paying Australian Government boards and committees since 2011.
Government: State Owned Corporations
||Number of Corporations
||% female directors
|New South Wales
A1, A2 and A3 boards
- 24.1 percent of directorships are held by women
- 14 per cent (5) of funds do not have a woman on their board
- 40 per cent (14) of funds have 25 percent of directorships held by women
The percentage of women on the boards of private health insurance funds has increased very marginally (2.2 per cent) since October 2007 when we last reported the data. The health insurance industry is regulated by the Private Health Insurance Administration Council (PHIAC), an independent statutory authority. Of the 35 registered private health insurance funds, eight are for profit and 27 are not for profit, 22 have open membership while 13 have restricted membership.
National Sporting Organisations
- 23.4 percent of directorships are held by women
- 17 per cent (11) of NSOs do not have a woman on their board
- 44 per cent (28) of NSOs have 25 percent or more of directorships held by women
As of January 2012 there were 470 directors on 64 funded national sporting organisations of which 110, or 23.4 per cent were women. This represents a 0.6 percent increase from 22.7 per cent in 2011. Eleven per cent of Presidents and 19 percent of CEOs were female in 2012, down from 19 per cent of Presidents and 22 per cent CEOs in 2011.
Research and Development Corporations
- 21.1 percent of directorships are held by women
- 19 per cent (3) do not have a woman on their board
- 12.5 per cent (2) have 25 percent or more of directorships held by women
There are 16 grower funded Research and Development Corporations in Australia that are 40 per cent funded by the Australian Government. So for every $1.00 contributed by the Australian Government, industry levies and contributions add a further $1.50 (on average). In 2012 the percentage of board seats held by women on Rural R&D Corporations is largely unchanged from prior years.
- 21.8 percent of directorships are held by women
- 19 per cent (25) of trustees do not have a woman on their board
- 50 per cent (66) of trustees have 25 percent of directorships held by women
There has been a marginal increase in the percentage of women on Superannuation Trustee boards from 20.4 in 2011 to 21.8 per cent in 2012. Corporate funds are the clear leader, with a five per cent increase in the number of trustee positions held by women. Retail funds show a smaller increase, while industry and public sector funds have both declined in the percentage of trustee positions held by women. Since introducing licensing for superannuation boards, the Australian Prudential Regulatory Authority (APRA) has steadily lifted the bar for the skills and qualifications required to be a trustee. This trend is expected to continue and represents an opportunity for board renewal on many funds.