Milestone for women: No more all-male boards on ASX 200 companies


For the first time ever, there are now no all-male boards within Australia's top 200 companies.

The milestone comes as the final two companies with all-male boards, both mining companies, appointed female non-executive directors to their boards this month.

When the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) started tracking women on ASX 200 boards in 2015, there were 28 companies with all-male board lineups.

no all-male boards in asx200

AICD chief executive and managing director Angus Armour says the achievement should be celebrated, representing a great shift among the country's largest companies.

"This is testament to the leadership and commitment of ASX chairs and directors, as well as the numerous groups who have pushed for change and ensured that gender diversity remains a priority for organisations," Armour says.

"We want to ensure this success is maintained. It is important all chairs to continue to prioritise diversity in the search for directors."

As of May 31, women held 33.6% of ASX 200 board seats, an increase of about 3% year on year. Women accounted for 48% of all board appointments made in the first half of 2021.

Within the ASX 20, female directors account for 35.7%; 35.5% in the ASX 50; 35% in the ASX 100; and 31.6% in the ASX 200.

Australia is one of the few countries in the world to have achieved 30% representation of women on the boards of its top companies without mandated quotas or government intervention.

"When the push for gender diversity on the ASX 200 began, there was a view that Australia did not offer the talent pool of qualified women to achieve the targets we set," 30% Club Australia chair Nicola Wakefield Evans said.

"With nearly 500 ASX 200 board positions now held by women, that myth is well and truly busted - the calibre of women on our leading boards is exceedingly high, from those who are well established to emerging directors achieving their first listed role."

To keep the momentum going, the AICD is pushing for a 40:40:20 model. This would see boards aim for 40% of seats held by men, 40% held by women and flexibility over who holds the remaining 20%.

And while this will help with overall representation of women on boards, there is still quite a lot of work to be done when it comes to women chairing boards.

As of the end of May, only 21 companies in the ASX 200 were chaired by a woman.

This article first appeared in Financial Standard

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Jamie Williamson is editor of Financial Standard. Prior to this she was a senior journalist, covering wealth management including financial advice, superannuation and life insurance. Before turning to journalism, she worked in public relations, specialising in financial services. She has a Bachelor's degree in communications from the University of Newcastle.
PAUL Eardley
August 28, 2021 10.47am

I agree where Tracey is coming from. With the fair changes ,i assume that woman in general will take men out for a drink, meal and lifestyle.