Congratulations to Fortescue Metals Group and The Australian Securities Exchange on reaching 30% female directors on their boards this year.
In February 2015, The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI) set the TARGET OF 30% FEMALE REPRESENTATION ON BOARDS OF ALL ASX 200 COMPANIES BY 2017.
With the weight of $1.8 trillion in retirement savings behind them, the ACSI represents a powerful force in the gender diversity issue. ACSI CEO, Gordon Hagart said “ACSI’s motivation to act in this space is the strong evidence of the links between board gender diversity and financial performance. We have been pleased with recent improvements on gender diversity, but these come from a very low base. Our data shows that unless we see an accelerated number of women appointed to ASX 200 boards, further progress will be unacceptably slow”.
WARNING OF VOTES AGAINST BOARDS WHO FAIL TO PROMOTE WOMEN
Mr Hagart said the rate of representation would be a major focus of regular discussions between ACSI members — which include local and international superannuation funds with $1.8 trillion in retirement savings and companies in 2015. In the worst cases ACSI may recommend its members vote against re-election of directors in companies that were not taking action on the issue of gender diversity.
He went on to say an “alarmingly high’’ 36 companies — nearly one fifth of the top 200 publicly listed companies — including four top 100 companies, still had no female directors.
CHAMPIONS OF CHANGE
He told ABC News “It tends to be that the bigger companies have taken stronger action on this over the years, and they’ve been companies and individuals within companies that have been real champions of this change. Gail Kelly and Westpac spring to mind as an individual and an entity that have really seen the value in this and have pushed that through. Of course, Gail has left recently and changed the stats herself by her departure but other people like David Gonski at ANZ and Coca Cola and Simon McKeon, the chair of AMP Capital, have been real champions of this issue”
For a broad picture of Gender Equality in Australian Industry, check out The Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s (WGEA) visualisation on Gender Equality by Industry and keep an eye on our LinkedIn or Events pages for details of our next ‘Ask the Expert’ session with the WGEA later this year.