In the new ASX Corporate Governance Council Principles and Recommendations on Diversity report, which analyses the disclosures on diversity statistics for financial years ending 1 January 2015 to 31 December 2015, it was revealed that in ASX 501 + companies, only 6 percent of board members were women, down from 9 percent in 2013.
Things looked a little better for S&P/ASX 200 companies, with 22 percent of board members women, up from 18 percent in 2013, while for ASX 201-500 companies, 15 percent of board members were women, up from 10 percent in 2013.
Some other key findings
- The report shows evidence of an increase in the number of entities establishing a diversity policy since 2013.
- It shows a high level of compliance to the ASX Corporate Governance Council’s Diversity Recommendations is evident in the vast majority of entities, with the most notable increase in the ASX 501 + category.
- There was an improvement in the number of entities disclosing objectives against which progress can be easily measured.
- Few entities set or disclosed quantitative objectives (for example ensuring 30 percent of director seats held by women by 2018).
- The majority of measurable objectives focused on implementing diversity programs or initiatives, such as undertaking a pay equity review, implementing programs in unconscious bias, or undertaking an all employee satisfaction survey.
- There continued to be a number of entities reporting more aspirational objectives such as achieving a culture of inclusion, making it difficult for these entities to measure progress against their objectives both now and in future years.