The percentage of female board appointments has spiked at the start of 2018, but further momentum will be crucial in order to reach a target of 30 per cent female representation for Australia’s top 200 companies by the end of the year.
Women accounted for 47 per cent of board appointments across the ASX 200 companies in the first two months of 2018, up from a sluggish 36 per cent a year ago, and now make up 26.7 per cent of directorships, a new report by the Australia Institute of Company Directors (AICD) shows.
The findings, released on International Women’s Day on Thursday, show that the number of top 200 companies which have no women around the board table now stands at five, down from 14 recorded this time last year.
Galaxy Resources and Beach Energy both left the list earlier this year, but Pilbara Minerals has been named, alongside ARB Corporation, Speedcast International, Ardent Leisure and TPG Telecom, after entering the ASX 200 in December.
AICD Chairman Elizabeth Proust says the result mark the highest rate of female appointments to ASX 200 boards since the AICD began tracking gender diversity statistics.
But despite the positive findings, she said company boards will need to prove they take the issue of gender diversity seriously and sustain the momentum of appointments in order to reach the representation target by the end of 2018.
“While this news is encouraging, it is only reflective of the first two months of 2018,” Ms Proust said.
“The boards of our largest companies have 10 months to prove to the community that they take the issue of gender diversity seriously.”
Across the ASX 200, a total of 74 companies – such as Fortescue Metals Group, Medibank Private, Nine Entertainment and Woolworths – have reached or exceeded the 30 per cent representation target.
Ms Proust said diverse boards and leadership teams lead to better outcomes for shareholders and stakeholders.
“They lead to greater innovation and better bottom lines,” she said.
“Greater diversity on boards is vital to the future of good governance in Australia.”