Boys’ club welcomes girls

25/09/2015 - 06:06

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Top Western Australian publicly listed companies with fewer women on boards than the national average may get the boost they need following the launch of a new club.

Boys’ club welcomes girls
Sharon Warburton is one of WA’s few leading women in construction, and a non-executive director at FMG (which has 30 per cent female board representation) and executive director at Brookfield Multiplex. Photo: Attila Csaszar

Top Western Australian publicly listed companies with fewer women on boards than the national average may get the boost they need following the launch of a new club.

Last night, Perth welcomed its first 30% club, with the launch of the local chapter of an international group of prominent company directors and chairs who aim to have women hold 30 per cent of directorships at top public companies by 2018.

Business News has previously reported that, among the 20 WA companies in the S&P/ASX 200 index, women fill 23 out of 146 board positions - or 15.7 per cent of the total.

This is compared with 20 per cent nationally, up from 8 per cent in 2009.

The 30% club will draw on members’ voluntary initiatives to encourage and support companies to appoint more women to their boards by sharing innovations, encouraging collaborative approaches, and keeping a spotlight on the issue through ongoing media campaigns and major events. Progress will be tracked over the next three years.

Prominent Perth business people to have signed on as members in the initiative, led by the Australian Institute of Company Directors, include:

Businesses with strong Perth connections involved in the initiative include:

  • South32 (which has one woman on its seven-person board); and
  • BHP Billiton (which has three women on its 12-person board).

Only four of WA’s top companies – Wesfarmers, Fortescue Metals Group, Navitas and Liquefied Natural Gas – currently meet the 30% club female target.

The women on these boards are:

Mineral Resources, Western Areas, Regis Resources and Sandfire Resources have no women on their boards.

Mr Chaney, who is a member of the 30% club, has already set one of the companies he leads with a more ambitious target.

In April this year he told shareholders he wanted to five women preside at Woodside Petroleum’s 10-seat board by the time he retires.

Woodside currently has two female directors – Melinda Cilento and Sarah Ryan.

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