01/07/2010 - 00:00

AICD wants more women on boards

01/07/2010 - 00:00

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NEW figures released by the Australian Institute of Company Directors show a dramatic increase in the number of women appointed to ASX 200 boards.

AICD wants more women on boards

NEW figures released by the Australian Institute of Company Directors show a dramatic increase in the number of women appointed to ASX 200 boards.

Notable appointments of the year to date include former Victorian police chief Christine Nixon to Foster’s Group, Reserve Bank board member Jillian Broadbent to ASX, and IMC Group’s Sook Yee Tai to Perth-based Atlas Iron.

In the first six months of 2010, 24 per cent of all board appointees were female, compared to 5 per cent in 2009. AICD collated the figures based on daily analysis of ASX data.

AICD chief executive John Colvin said in a statement the figures showed that real progress was already being made.

“There have been 24 appointments of women to ASX 200 boards so far this year, two and half times the number appointed for the whole of 2009 – but more needs to be done.”

Mr Colvin said AICD believed the proportion of women on ASX boards was not good enough and needs to be increased.

“Diversity is a competitive advantage bringing real value for businesses and it is very encouraging that more and more boards are taking advantage of the value of diversity,” he said.

AICD general manager communications and public affairs, Steve Burrell, told WA Business News there had been a lot of focus on the issue in the past year and it had become “more front of mind when choosing board members”.

“When you look at the boards that have made the appointments, a lot of the companies are associated with AICD and are aware of the value of women on boards,” Mr Burrell said.

AICD began actively addressing the issue of board diversity last year, and in April 2010 launched new mentoring program. The ASX 200 Chairman’s Mentoring Program involves a 12-month partnership between chairman and senior directors of major Australian companies and highly talented women.

While it’s too soon to know whether the program has had any impact on board appointees, Mr Burrell hopes that will change as the mentoring progresses.

He also said the corporate governance council of the ASX had raised the awareness of the initiative to its listed companies, which had provided more focus on the greater issue of women on boards.

 

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