Australian Companies Need Inspiration
Meet the Challenge and Increase Profits

Meet the Challenge and Increase Profits

Australia ASX200 companies need to get with the times and increase the number of female board members and enjoy greater profitsA new benchmark is set for Australia's leading businesses to achieve boardroom gender diversification - not to fall below the dismal 8.7 percent of women on ASX200 boards.

Women on Boards released it's new index to track the performance of key sectors in our economy on gender diversity in the boardroom. The index covers female participation on 774 boards from ASX200 companies, credit unions, superannuation funds regulated by APRA, national sporting organisations, Cooperative Research Centres, rural research and development corporations and top government boards in NSW, Queensland, South Australia and nationally.

By tracking and setting benchmarks Women on Boards aims to encourage and celebrate sectors achieving diversity and equality while also highlighting sectors that need to redouble their efforts to realise their full potential.

In Australia the Equal Opportunity in the Workplace Agency found that female senior executives identified as top earners of ASX200 companies are paid 58 per cent of their male counterparts for comparable roles.

In ASX listed companies with all male directors, women comprise five per cent of the top earners. In ASX listed companies with two or more women on the board, they comprise 13 per cent of the top earners.

This demonstrates there is a direct correlation between female representation on boards and pay equality. The Women on Boards Boardroom Diversity Index shows the widest gap between female director representation is between the ASX200 companies and government boards. This is not a case of not enough available talented female board member candidates either. So is it a matter of choice for these companies?

The stand out sector improvements for board diversification include Rural research and development corporations who took their female directors from 13 per cent in 2008 to 22 per cent in 2009 and National Sporting Organisations's have increased from 14 per cent in 2006/07 to 26 per cent in 2010. While both these sectors have traditionally been seen as the preserve of men they have been able to significantly improve their directors equality balance.

Win online competitions with She Inspires!Having more female board members isn't just about reducing image problems but it's also more profitable.

The Business Case for Women (McKinsey Quarterly September 2008) found that companies with high numbers of female board members were:

  • financially more successful and able to ride out economic challenges,
  • gained competitive advantages by attracting more talented senior women to roles, and
  • able to draw from a broader and deeper talent pool.

Claire Braund, Executive Director of Women on Boards, said that International Women’s Day 2010 represented a benchmark for gender diversity on boards.

"Most sectors have at least 20 per cent female directors, with the glaring exception of the ASX200 at 8.7 per cent - an embarrassing statistic for Australia's leading business index."

In November 2009, Women on Boards called for ASX200 companies to achieve a minimum of 25 per cent female directors by 2012 or it would be advocating for the introduction of mandatory quotas.

"We issue a similar challenge to the other sectors whose data has been published to achieve minimum of 40 per cent female directors in the same timeframe.“

"There are a large number of qualified and experienced women seeking directorships in Australia who would be very willing to serve on the boards of the organisations surveyed.

"Women on Boards has the CVs of approximately 1,500 board ready women from its subscription base of 7,500, so here is a good starting point for any organisations not sure where to look," Ms Braund said.

Women on Boards has a free vacancy posting service for companies seeking to advertise to high quality female applicants and will conduct private searches on request.

Quick Links

Women on Boards

Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency - EOWA - resources link

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