A global diversity perspective

Deloitte has released its latest edition of Women in the boardroom - A global perspective, which is a report on board gender diversity. This comprehensive report outlines the efforts of 49 countries to increase the number of women occupying board seats.

Key findings in the study are that representation of women on corporate boards continues to increase, but the number of women-led boards still remains low globally. Overall, women now hold 12 per cent of seats worldwide with only 4 per cent chairing boards. Regionally, the most progressive countries for gender diversity on boards are in Europe while the Americas and Asia Pacific regions are displaying slower progress. 

However, global comparisons mask the differences in the efforts of individual countries to address the gender imbalance on boards. For example, Denmark, while having the sixth highest board participation of women in Europe couldn't show an example of a single female chair in the study. 

Australia’s performance was encouraging with the percentage of women on ASX 200 boards increasing to 20.4 per cent (from 8 per cent in 2009). The Australian Institute of Company Directors recently re-invigorated this progress by announcing their promotion of a target of 30 per cent of women on ASX200 boards by 2018. 

Women now comprise 30 per cent of all new ASX 200 board appointments. Overall, the Australian board composition by women in the study showed that 15.1 per cent held board positions and 5.6 per cent acted in the role of chair. The top industries with the highest percentage of female directors were the financial and consumer business sectors with 19 per cent and 18 per cent respectively.

Deloitte has also released an interactive network diagram which can be filtered by country and industry segment. The Women on Corporate Boards Pilot is an interactive network visualisation linking companies across the globe based on non-executive directors that serve on the boards of common companies. This visualisation incorporates several metrics in order to show the connectedness of companies with higher percentages of women on their board.

View the full report and interactive network diagram here.