(Australian Associated Press)
Australia’s achievement in becoming the first country to fill 30 per cent of board positions with women without recourse to regulation or quotas should be seen as “the floor and not the ceiling”, according to the AICD.
Women accounted for 29.7 per cent of ASX200 board positions at the end of last year, an increase of more than half since the Australian Institute of Company Directors set the 30 per cent target in 2015.
But AICD managing director and chief executive Angus Armour said the achievement was just a start.
“Thirty per cent remains the floor and not the ceiling for gender diversity,” Mr Armour said.
“We intend to continue advocating for gender parity on Australian boards.”
Bapcor was the company with the highest proportion of female directors, with women filling three of its five board positions.
But the majority of firms still had a majority of men on their boards, with just 15 companies having either an equal split on gender lines or more women than men.
Metcash, nib, Fortescue Metals and Medibank had more than 55 per cent female board members, while Commonwealth Bank, Woolworths, Mirvac, Spark, Seek, Altium, Abacus Property, IOOF, Navistas and Inghams each had 50 per cent.
AMP was one of just four ASX200 companies with no women on its board, having appointed men to fill the spots vacated by chair Catherine Brenner and non-executive directors Vanessa Wallace, Holly Kramer and Patty Akopiantz following its royal commission drubbing.
TPG, long criticised by shareholder groups for its lack of board renewal, parts manufacturer ARB and earthmoving rental firm Emeco are the others.
In 2015, the number of ASX200 boards with 30 per cent female representation was 40.
It was 96 at the end of 2018.
“In 2018, 45 per cent of all appointments to ASX200 boards were women, which demonstrates that voluntary targets can be effective,” Mr Armour said.
“Even more satisfying is that for almost half of these women it was their first ASX200 appointment, which is proof that boards are looking beyond the existing talent pool.”