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Jump in number of women on boards

Jump in number of women on boards

The number of women on boards is steadily increasing, with evidence pointing to the adoption of gender-diverse boards by Australia’s top businesses.

According to the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD), the proportion of women on ASX 20 boards has reached 20 per cent.

Further, 18.7 per cent of directors on ASX 50 boards are female, as are 17.3 per cent on ASX 100 boards. In December 2010, these figures were 15.4 per cent and 13.4 per cent respectively.

“The growing numbers of women on our most elite boards prove that companies recognise that a gender-diverse board is good for business and are actively seeking out female talent,” said John Colvin, the CEO and managing director of the AICD.

Gains are also being made in the ASX 200, where a third of appointees this year have been female. This compares to just five per cent in 2009, and women now make up 13.8 per cent of directors on ASX 200 boards, up from 11.2 per cent this time last year.

“We have put in place a number of concrete measures aimed at helping to achieve greater gender diversity on Australian boards which, along with the ASX Corporate Governance Council [which] introduced its Principles and Recommendations on Diversity, have contributed to the real progress that is evident in the latest figures,” said Colvin.

Such measures include the Preeminent Chairman’s Mentoring Program, the newly piloted Public Sector Mentoring Program, the highly successful Board Ready program, as well as the Company Directors-Federal Government Board Diversity Scholarship and the Victorian Women’s Governance Scholarship Program.

“When boards adopt an open approach that aims to select the best possible directors from a diverse range of candidates, it is not only good social policy, but it makes good business sense,” Colvin said. “It means that our boards and companies can benefit from all the talent that is available to them.”

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