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Boards still lagging on gender diversity

Boards still lagging on gender diversity

Taylee Lewis
— 1 minute read

The number of female board members is still strikingly low, with women only making up 14 per cent of board positions in the ASX101-200, according to the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI).

Commenting on the Board Composition and Non-Executive Director Pay in ASX200 Companies, ACSI chief executive Louise Davidson said "the inexorable, if painfully slow, rise of women on the boards of Australia’s largest companies is continuing".

Ms Davidson said that while progress is disappointing, momentum for change is starting to appear. 

“ACSI has a policy target of 30 per cent female representation by 2017, and we’ll continue to be a strong voice in this discussion, both in the investment community and in our engagements with companies,” she said. 

The report found that the representation of women on boards is showing some signs of improvement. Approximately 37 per cent of new director appointments in the ASX100 were women. 

However, this trend was less evident in smaller companies of the ASX101-200, with women accounting for only 23 per cent of appointments. ACSI said there has consistently been a higher level of female representation in the ASX100 compared to the ASX101-200.

In terms of age, ACSI pointed out that 62 per cent of women on boards are aged 40-60, against just 27 per cent of men. Comparatively, nearly three-quarters of male non-executive directors are aged 60-70 or over. 

Moreover, Ms Davidson also said directors do not have enough “skin in the game”. 

According to the report, almost 11 per cent of board seats were held by directors with no personal equity in the companies in which they presided over. In the ASX101-200 this number was higher, coming in at 18 per cent. 

“This is a poor result and we hope the number begins to improve,” said Ms Davidson. 

“While we don’t mandate how many shares an individual director should own, we do believe that having skin in the game aligns directors more closely with the investors they represent, and that well-governed boards require their directors to hold equity in the company,” she said.

 

Boards still lagging on gender diversity
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