Leading by example

Today, there are 66 boards on the ASX 200 with at least 30 per cent women. This is a significant improvement from 53 boards in August 2016 and just 33 boards in June 2015.

These encouraging figures feature in Leading by example, the latest report to come from 30% Club Australia.

The report compiles the reflections of 30 of the 53 leading ASX 200 company chairs whose boards had reached or surpassed the 30 per cent target of women on boards as at 30 August 2016.

It includes insights from Catherine Brenner MAICD, Chairman of AMP, David Gonski AC FAICDLife, Chairman of ANZ Banking Group and Coca-Cola Amatil Ltd and Margaret Jackson AC FAICD, immediate past Chairman of Spotless Group.

While some of the chairs interviewed were appointed to boards that had already reached the target, the majority have been actively involved in appointing female and continuing to maintain a minimum of 30 per cent female directors due to natural attrition during their time as chair.

Conversations with the chairs covered the following themes:

  • The importance of board diversity
    A strong commitment to board diversity is the first and most critical step to improving the representation of women on boards.

  • Board recruitment, selection and appointment practices
    Clear, manageable targets, buy-in from the chair and board members, an agreed-to recruitment strategy and balanced shortlists go a long way to improve the gender balance on boards.

  • Boardroom dynamics
    The different perspectives brought to boardrooms as a result of diversity improve the quality of decision-making and boardroom dynamics.

  • Organisational impact and the relationship between the board and executive team
    Change is driven from the top and boards have the opportunity to be excellent role models and advocates for gender diversity for the rest of their organisation.

  • Environmental facilitators
    Targets, quotas, regulation, legislation have the potential to impact or facilitate progress. Engagement with like-minded organisations is valuable in advocating for and delivering improved female representation on boards.

This report serves as a practical guide to improving gender diversity on boards for chairs and directors. It draws a common thread between the attitudes, commitment, practices, values and processes fostered by those who have contributed to meeting the 30 per cent target by 2018.

Download the full report

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The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) is Secretariat of the 30% Club Australia. For more information about the AICD’s board diversity initiatives and the latest diversity news, click here.