Posted 2 October 2017 8:00am
In the 12 months since the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) called for a 30 per cent gender diversity target on ASX 200 company boards, 45 companies have met or surpassed that target. Women now make up 21.7 per cent of company directors in Australia.
The objective of the “30% Club” is to ‘achieve 30 per cent of ASX 200 seats held by women by end 2018’. AICD Chairperson Elizabeth Proust has said that ‘it is now beyond argument that diverse boards make better decision. A more diverse board will avoid “groupthink”, look at the issues from multiple perspectives and make good decisions’.
The ASX 200 is on track to ensure the 30 per cent target is met by all 200 companies before the end of 2018, the monthly rate of female appointments above 40 per cent throughout 2016. Despite this significant progress, there is still much to do. There are currently 20 companies in the ASX 200 without any female directors, and 63 companies with only one female director.
The AICD’s quarterly report on gender diversity identifies how this appointment rate can be increased – looking at factors like using diversity goals, external search firms and skills matrixes in recruitment, and motivating female board members through better mentoring and support. The report also notes a need to ‘be sensitive to culture, behaviours and bias that reduce the effectiveness of the board’s work and decision-making and be confident to bring those to the attention of colleagues’.