A report by the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) has found that only 10.5 per cent of ASX 200 companies, and 11 per cent of ASX 300 companies, are chaired by women.
According to the AICD’s latest Gender Diversity Report, women made up around 35 per cent of directors on ASX 200 and ASX 300 boards as of the end of November. However, AICD managing director and CEO Mark Rigotti noted that similar progress was not being seen at the chair level.
“The fact that female directors comprise 45 per cent of new directors to the ASX 200 in 2022 demonstrates that boards continue to place focus and priority on gender balance. This is also evidenced by the high percentage of women chairing board committees,” he said.
“However, there is still a relatively small number of female chairs on the ASX 300. Given that the most likely career background for an ASX chair is as a former CEO, progress will be slow until more women are appointed as company CEOs.”
More than half (51 per cent) of ASX 300 chairs were found to have a career background as a CEO. Chief Executive Women previously reported that there were 18 women CEOs in the ASX 300, and only four of the 28 CEO appointments made in the past financial year were women.
Ms Nicola Wakefield Evans, 30% Club Australia chair, suggested the small number of women chairs in the ASX 300 needs to be addressed, beginning with a focus on executive teams.
“The time to act is now. The current pace of change just isn’t good enough. Organisations need to take meaningful steps to identify talented women to fill executive roles and ultimately the CEO role,” she said.
“Boards need to hold themselves accountable for identifying potential female CEOs and any barriers that exist for making this possible. The momentum that has been generated on boards can serve as a lesson for what’s possible with real and meaningful action.”
Meanwhile, the AICD also found that four ASX 200 boards — De Grey Mining Limited, Core Lithium Limited, Sayonara Mining Limited and Capricorn Metals Limited — had no women.
At the end of November, women made up at least 30 per cent of the board at 141 companies in the ASX 200 and 195 companies in the ASX 300.
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Jon Bragg is a journalist for Momentum Media's Investor Daily, nestegg and ifa. He enjoys writing about a wide variety of financial topics and issues and exploring the many implications they have on all aspects of life.