The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) has called on ASX 200 companies to increase their female board representation to 30 per cent within the next three years.
“Despite a significant improvement in recent years, the rate of women appointments to S&P/ASX 200 boards appears to be plateauing at around 30 per cent,” said ACSI, citing Australian Institute of Company Directors figures.
ACSI chief executive Gordon Hagart said “ACSI’s motivation to act in this space is the strong evidence of the links between board gender diversity and financial performance.”
“We have been pleased with recent improvements on gender diversity, but these come from a very low base. Our data show that unless we see an accelerated number of women appointed to ASX 200 boards, further progress will be unacceptably slow,” said Mr Hagart.
A recent Credit Suisse report titled, The CS Gender 3000: Women in Senior Management, reinforced the importance of gender diversity as key to “well-governed” and “high-performance companies.”
“Greater diversity in boards and management are empirically associated with higher returns on equity, higher price/book valuations and superior stock price performance,” the report found.
As at February 2015, almost 50 per cent of companies on the S&P/ASX 22 index had one or no women at board level, with 36 companies with no female representation on boards.
The report also noted that 2009 saw a gender diversity low, with only five per cent of women holding board positions.
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