Women are being appointed to the boards of ASX 200 companies at a greater rate than ever before, according to new diversity research released today (9 August).
As the Australian Institute of Company Directors launched its new book today, Tomorrow's Boards: Creating balanced and effective boards, chief executive officer and managing director John Colvin said while Australia still has a long way to go, the Australian director community is already responding to calls for greater diversity, noting the increasing rate of women joining the boards of ASX 200 companies.
"Women currently make up 17.6 per cent of directors of ASX 50 companies, 16.1 per cent of ASX 100 and 12.7 per cent of ASX 200. Australia now ranks ahead of many of our international peers in gender composition of top listed company boards, including the United Kingdom, Canada and New Zealand," he said.
"Chairman and boards consistently tell us that practical programs like our Chairmen's Mentoring Program have greatly assisted with achieving change in this area. So far this year, women have comprised, on average, 29 per cent of all new appointments to ASX 200 boards, compared to only 5 per cent in 2009, and 8 per cent in 2007 and 2008."
The new book brings together research on the positive correlation between diversity on boards and in management and improved corporate and financial performance. The book's author, Anthea McIntyre, emphasised the need for Australian boards to embrace diversity but rejected calls for quotas.
"International experience has shown that quotas on boards can have unintended consequences and are unlikely to result in any cultural change within companies or any improvement in the number of women in executive positions," she said, suggesting that boards should instead adopt a range of measures for achieving greater diversity which are tailored to the needs of the company, including setting relevant targets and reviewing board selection practices.