Cultural Diversity on Boards

Research tells us what women miss out on board roles because of their cultural background. Women on Boards is committed to raising awareness of this issue via its Board Cultural Diversity Index and associated resources research and activities.
Meet our Cultural Diversity Committee

Closing the Gap - Understanding significant Aboriginal days with Claire Beattie

In support of NAIDOC week, in this heart felt video Claire Beattie, proud Yorta Yorta woman and member of WOB’s Cultural Diversity Committee, eloquently shares her truth, explaining the significant aboriginal days and what you can do to help to close the gap. A must watch / read for every Australian. Understanding, education and action are key to closing the gap.  Read more HERE


In this NEW series we interview the women behind WOB's Cultural Diversity Committee about why they joined the committee, what they have learned along the way and their visions for cultural diversity in 2023. Read more HERE

Truth Be Told - Cultural Diversity on Australian Boards

 Truth Be ToldWomen on Boards’ (WOB) research shows that while a gender balance of 40% female has largely been achieved on the boards of organisations across many sectors, the inclusion of culturally diverse and Indigenous Australians has largely been ignored.

Read more HERE

Watch / Listen to SBS' Coverage of the Report - Watch (from 39.04 min - 42 min)  HERE | LISTEN to the podcast HERE

Fostering Culturally Diverse Leadership in Organisations

What can we learn from leaders who have thrived and smashed the ‘bamboo ceiling’? Are there other factors holding organisational change back? These are questions WOB member, NED and former senior Big 4 partner Karen Loon asks in her book Fostering Culturally Diverse Leadership in Organisations.  Read more, including an extract from the book HERE

Listen to Claire Braund in conversation with Karen Loon HERE 



Counting Culture Survey

The inaugural 2021 Women on Boards Counting Culture Survey revealed that women miss out on board roles because of their cultural background. One in three respondents said they have missed out on a board or committee opportunity because of their cultural background. This increased to 53% for those born overseas compared with 17% for those born in Australia. Read more


Spotlight on Cultural Diversity 

A selection of interviews, videos, stories and podcasts to:
- celebrate culturally diverse women in board and leadership roles;
- debate issues; and
- provide information to inform your thinking  HERE

Board Cultural Diversity Index

As we have seen for gender diversity on boards, it is critical to measure and track the data in order to achieve change. WOB launched its Board Cultural Diversity Index in 2020 to establish a baseline for moving forward.

ASX 200 companies

Cultural diversity on boards is slipping backwards.  According to the 2020 Board Diversity Index Report published by the Governance Institute, cultural (ethnic) diversity on ASX 300 boards had decreased since 2019. The report found that there is no reason for this except inaction.

Research done by members of the CDWG between February and May 2020 on the cultural composition of ASX200 Boards (including Company Secretaries and Managing Directors) found that just 5.2% of all positions were held by men or women of non-Anglo origin.

Category Number of Directors on ASX200
(prior to June 2020)
% of Total Directors on ASX200
(rounded to nearest .1%)
Men of Anglo Origin 983 64.7%
Men of Non-Anglo Origin 51 3.4%
Women of Anglo Origin 457 30.1%
Women of Non-Anglo Origin 28 1.8%
Total 1,519 100%

Data for number of directors includes managing directors and company secretaries so total director numbers are higher than in the ASX200 in the 2020 Boardroom Gender Diversity Index.

NSW Not for Profits with revenues of $50M+

Data for the Not for Proft sector was sourced from the ACNC 2018 Annual information Statement ( NSW charities with revenues of $50M+ were included.


Number of Board Members
of Charities with revenues of $50M+

% of Total Board Members
Anglo Men 607 57%
Non-Anglo Men 61 6%
Anglo Women 369 34%
Non-Anglo Women 35 3%
Total 1072 100%

NSW Not for Profits with revenues of $10-$20M

For the purpose of this study NFPs whose main activity was one of the following were excluded: 

  1. Aged Care 

  1. Primary & Secondary Education 

  1. Religious Activities 

These activities were excluded on the premise that cultural diversity is lacking in these sectors and this was demonstrated through the data collected for the $50M+ charities.

Below is a summary of cultural diversity on 155 registered NFPs in NSW with revenues of $10M-$20M. 

Category Total Directors % total board
Anglo Men 697 56.5%
Non-Anglo Men 74 6%
Anglo Women 404 32.7%
Non-Anglo Women 59 4.8%
Total 1234 100%

Related Research

How do you count culture?

New research from Diversity Council Australia (DCA) and the University of Sydney Business School has developed a standardised approach for defining, measuring, and reporting on workforce cultural diversity in a respectful, accurate and inclusive way.  Read more


Nicole Donegan (WOB COO) 0417 056 474 |
Sara Pantalao (Committee Chair)

Not done

Meet our Cultural Diversity Committee