The 30% Club Australia, a leading organisation campaigning for 30% women on ASX boards, has announced new targets for ASX 201- 300 companies to meet the 30% target by the end of 2021 to mark International Women’s Day.
Previously only ASX 200 companies were targeted to meet the voluntary target by the 30% Club.
“This is an amazing achievement as Australia is the first country in the OECD region to achieve significant targets without regulatory intervention, ahead of UK, US and Canada. It’s been proven that gender diversity can be reached without quotas and intervention as long as there are passionate advocates for diversity across ASX Chairs and Directors,” said Nicola Wakefield Evans, Chair 30% Club.
Last year was a watermark point for corporate Australia as for the first-time women accounted for more than 30% of board positions across ASX 50 (32.7%) and ASX 100 (31.3%).
“However, the number of female company directors for the ASX201-300 stood at 19.7 per cent, with still 28 companies with no females on their boards.
“So, in a way the hard work is just beginning as the 30% Club increases its advocacy. We have set up a new Investment Banking/Private Equity Working Group to seek greater support from business and the investment community, and to increase their contribution towards building gender diverse boards.
“The community at large expects the composition of boards to reflect the broader Australian population. I believe the time is right to look beyond ASX 200 companies to also include the small cap companies sector,” notes Ms Wakefield Evans.
Susan Roberts, Head of Investor Working Group 30% Club added: “We will continue to work closely with investors from the investment management sector and Australian super funds to focus on achieving diversity on ASX300 Boards.
“Large super funds and fund managers are leading the way in advocating for gender diversity, based on the belief that companies that are well governed and sustainable will deliver positive results over the long term” says Ms Roberts.
The latest Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) gender diversity figures show women now make up 29.7 per cent of all ASX200 board positions, an increase of over 10 percentage points since the target was set in 2015.
There are still three boards in the top ASX200 with no women on their boards: ARB Corporation, Emeco Holdings and TPG Telecom. And there are 50 boards on the ASX200 with only one woman on their board.
The 30% Club in Australia was established in May 2015. The first three years of the Club’s establishment in Australia have been a period of intense activity with the signing on of 95 Chair members, 14 signatories to the investors’ Statement of Intent, growth in participation of women on ASX companies’ boards, and the engagement of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) as the secretariat support for the 30% Club in Australia.