07/03/2014 - 14:27

Win for women

07/03/2014 - 14:27

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There are now more than double the amount of women on Australia’s top corporate boards than four years ago.

Win for women
CME Women in Resources award winners: (L-R) Emma Stevenson (BHP Billiton), Rachel Mottram (Alcoa of Australia), Stuart Forrester (Iluka Resources), Kyra Bonney (McConnell Dowell) and Katie-Jeyn Romeyn (St Barbara Mining). Photo: CME

There are now more than twice the number of women on Australia’s top corporate boards than four years ago.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors revealed today, on International Women’s Day, that female directors on ASX200 boards now make up 17.6 per cent of all directors, compared with 8.3 per cent in 2010.

AICD chief executive officer John Colvin said the figures showed progress was being made, but more needed to be done before Australian companies fully embraced the need for greater gender diversity on their boards and in senior management.

“Boards (are) taking it upon themselves to redress the imbalance that exists. Directors in the ASX200 are saying 'it's not good enough, we need to fix it and we are fixing it ourselves',” he said. 

“More needs to be done, but the progress made so far is very heartening.”  

Mr Colvin said AICD disagreed with mandating quotas for greater female representation and instead had focused on implementing programs such as the chairmen’s mentoring program, the board ready program, and the board diversity scholarship program. 

“The idea of mandated quotas for female representation on boards is wrong in principle, has difficulties in practice, is tokenistic and is counterproductive to the end goal of increasing board diversity,” he said.

AICD’s initiatives, some of which are in partnership with the federal government, have led to more than a quarter of female appointments over the past four years coming from the chairmen’s mentoring program, while a large number of participants in its scholarship program have secured directorships.

The AICD’s figures also show that the larger the company, the more female directors. 

In the ASX20, 23.8 per cent of directors are women, while in the ASX50 21.4 per cent of directors are women, while in the ASX100 this figure is 20.5 per cent.

While companies that have introduced increasing gender diversity appear to be continuing that trend, AICD’s data also shows more companies are also starting to welcome women for the first time.

In 2010 there were 87 boards that had no female representation.

That amount has now more than halved and there are now 42 boards with no women directors.

Also in conjunction with International Women’s Day, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia recognised four women at its annual Women in Resources awards.

CME chief executive Reg Howard-Smith said the awards stood out for recognising women in the resources sector.

According to CME research, only one in five people working in the resources sector is female, which is less than half the national average across all industries.

“By recognising company initiatives and outstanding individuals, the awards inspire others to strengthen the number of women working in the sector,” Mr Howard-Smith said. 

He said diverse companies enjoyed improved workplace behaviours, higher morals, reduced employee turnover, improved decision making, more creative problem solving, improved productivity and improved safety.

“Put simply, diversity builds stronger and more prosperous companies,” he said.

BHP Billiton Nickel West’s Emma Stevenson won outstanding technician, McConnell Dowell’s Kyra Bonney won outstanding woman in resources, Rio Tinto Iron Ore’s Heidi Edwards won outstanding young woman in resources, and Alcoa of Australia’s Rachel Mottram won people’s choice award.

St Barbara Mining was awarded outstanding company initiative for eliminating the gender pay gap and Iluka ResourcesStuart Forrester was named women in resources champion for his work in increasing female recruitment.

 

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