Boards should adopt 30 per cent target for female directors

  • Date:09 Apr 2015
  • Type:Media release

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) is calling for all boards to ensure that 30 per cent of their directors are female and urges S&P/ASX200 companies to meet this new target by the end of 2018.


This major initiative is another step in the AICD’s long-running campaign to improve gender diversity in local boardrooms.

Launching the new target, AICD Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, John Brogden, said the new objective is a significant extension of the AICD’s previous diversity initiatives and will help companies more quickly reach the critical mass required to produce the optimal business benefits of board diversity.


“There is an undeniable case for gender diversity on boards. It is not only the right thing to do but the smart thing to do, because it means better business performance,” Mr Brogden said.

“Numerous pieces of research demonstrate a positive link between the level of female representation on boards and improved corporate performance.”


“The 30 per cent target will apply to all company structures, as the AICD has a broad membership of over 35,000 that extends well beyond the top listed companies to small ASX entities, private business and not-for-profit organisations,” he said.


“However, we recognise that the four-year time frame to achieve the target for ASX200 boards may not be appropriate for smaller listed and non-listed companies so we have not set a specific target date for these organisations to meet it.”


“Our previous initiatives to increase diversity have contributed to a steady increase in female directors on ASX200 boards, from 8.3 per cent in 2009 to 20 per cent today. We believe more needs to be done to further increase that number, and we are confident our new policy will help achieve that, at a faster pace.”


“We believe that the director community setting its own 30 per cent target is a better approach than a mandated quota imposed by government. We have always said that companies should set their own measurable targets for gender diversity and to facilitate their efforts we are now nominating a standard that we consider appropriate.”


The AICD will urge all boards to adopt the target and regularly report on their progress towards it so that the results of this initiative can be transparent and monitored by stakeholders.


The AICD launched its original Board Diversity Initiative in 2009, when it called on companies to establish a diversity policy in which clear goals and measurable milestones towards achieving these goals were articulated.


It has since introduced a range of practical activities which have made a significant contribution to increasing the number of women on boards. These include the Chairmen’s Mentoring Program, the Diversity Scholarship Program jointly-funded with the Commonwealth Government, a Public Sector Mentoring Program and the Victorian Women’s Governance Scholarship program


The AICD has also taken a leadership role in the development of ASX reporting guidelines on diversity and publishes the only monthly statistics updating the number of women on ASX200 boards.


To download the media release click here. (156 KB)


To download the key fact sheet click here. (262KB)


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