26/08/2021 - 11:00

ASX 200 companies reach gender target

26/08/2021 - 11:00

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Western Australian companies Chalice Mining and Silver Lake Resources appointed females to their boards this month, ending all-male representation among the ASX 200.

There is now at least one female on the boards of Australia's top 200 listed companies. Photo: Gabriel Oliveira

UPDATED: Western Australian companies Chalice Mining and Silver Lake Resources appointed females to their boards this month, ending all-male representation among the ASX 200.

Today, the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) revealed there were now no all-male boards among Australia’s top 200 listed companies, a significant improvement on the 28 all-male boards in 2015 when the AICD started its reporting.

It comes after explorer Chalice appointed Linda Kenyon as an independent non-executive director earlier this week to replace Stephen Quin, who advised he would step down from the board in November.

Ms Kenyon was company secretary at Wesfarmers for 17 years.

Last week, Silver Lake appointed Rebecca Prain as a non-executive director of the company, replacing Peter Alexander who retired from the role.

Ms Prain is also the managing director of West Perth-based Cube Consulting.

Fellow gold producer Perseus Mining has also added female representation to its board, appointing Amber Banfield as a non-executive director in May.

AICD chief executive Angus Armour said companies had been seeking to diversify their boards in recent years.

“This is testament to the leadership and commitment of ASX chairs and directors, as well as the numerous groups who have pushed for change and ensured that gender diversity remains a priority for organisations,” he said.

“We want to ensure this success is maintained. It is important all chairs continue to prioritise diversity in the search for directors.”

Mr Armour said ending the all-male representation was a historical milestone for Australia.

The AICD - which earlier this year appointed Carl Cockerham as the new state manager in WA - has been campaigning with Melbourne-based 30% Club to increase the representation of women on ASX 200 boards.

Australia is one of few countries to have at least 30 per cent of female representation on the boards of its top companies without mandated quotas or government intervention, according to a recent report by the University of Queensland.

30% Club was established in 2015 to campaign for 30 per cent of women on ASX 200 boards by 2018.

“When the push for gender diversity on the ASX 200 began, there was a view that Australia did not offer the talent pool of qualified women to achieve the targets we set,” chair Nicola Wakefield Evans said.

“With nearly 500 ASX 200 board positions now held by women, that myth is well and truly busted – the calibre of women on our leading boards is exceedingly high, from those who are well established to emerging directors achieving their first listed role.”

The AICD is pushing for a 40:40:20 model through which companies should aim to have 40 per cent representation of both men and women on their boards, with flexibility over the remaining 20 per cent.

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