The latest Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) diversity report: 30% by 2018: Gender diversity progress report for March 2018 – May 2018. Among other things the report found the ASX100 has reached the 30% female board representation target. 

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) has released its latest report on progress towards the 30% female board representation target: 30% by 2018: Gender diversity progress report for March 2018 – May 2018. The report has found among other things that women now comprise 30% of ASX100 boards and that overall, representation in the ASX 200 is at 27.7%. The AICD has called for all boards to ensure that 30% of their directors are women, and has urged ASX 200 companies to meet this target, by 2018.

  • Improvement since 2008: Overall, ASX 200 companies have increased women's board representation from 8% in 2008 to over 27% in 2018.

  • Improvement in representation since last quarter: There have been 18 additions to the list of companies with at least 30% female directors since February. The appointment rate for 2018 YTD is at 49% (47 women v 49 men).

  • Female representation on ASX 200 boards: Overall 27.7% (84 boards) of boards in the ASX 200 have met the 30% target. In the ASX 100, 30% of boards have met the 30% target. This figure slightly increases to 30.2% for ASX 50 and ASX 20 boards.

  • Still five companies in the ASX 200 with zero female directors: According to the report there are five companies in the ASX 200 without any female directors. The number has remained constant since the last quarterly report for the period December 2017 – February 2018.

  • Continued advocacy is required to drive change: Non-Executive Director and Founding Male Champions of Change member Kevin McCann comments in the report that without continued advocacy, continued progress is unlikely to occur citing the fact that 'in 2008, women on ASX 200 boards fell from 8.3% to 8%'. He observed that 'A laissez-faire approach will not overcome bias, conscious or unconscious, nor the obstacles which prevent women from obtaining leadership roles in Australian institutions. Only after 10 years of effort from AICD, Chief Executive Women, MCC and the 30% Club, is Australia achieving significant female representation on ASX200 boards' he writes.

  • The benefits of diversity are clear, any deterioration in governance standards is unrelated to the increased number of female board members: Responding to media reports asserting that the push for increased female board representation has led to unqualified directors being appointed to Australian boards and to a consequent deterioration of governance standards, AICD Chair Elizabeth Proust, Non-Executive Director and Founding Male Champions of Change member Kevin McCann and Australian Shareholders’ Association CEO Judith Fox (among others) featured in the report, challenge this view. They point to the evidence of the benefits of financial and non-financial benefits diversity (many citing McKinsey research on the issue), as well as their own experience. Non-Executive Director and Founding Male Champions of Change member Kevin McCann stated: 'My personal experience on Australian boards across a number of sectors – financial, energy, health, hospitality and technology – corroborates the McKinsey research. The arrival of a critical mass of women directors to boards raises the quality of board deliberations as a result of the collective intelligence from different perspectives'. Mr McCann adds that appointing unqualified directors whether male or female would be a breach of directors' duties to act in the best interests of the company and that in his experience 'this has not occurred'.