Quarter of Australian Top Companies Lack Women Board Members

More than one in four of Australia’s top 300 companies have no women on their boards, while the number of female directors at some government-owned corporations has declined.

A study commissioned by lobby group Women on Boards has found 81 of the companies that make up the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX 300) have no women directors, despite improvements in gender equality among the top 50 and 100 companies.

Just under a quarter of directors with ASX 100 companies are women, a 5% increase since 2013 according to the Boardroom Diversity Index. Only five companies in the top 100 had no female directors: TPG Telecom, Ramsay Healthcare, Qube Holdings, Sirtex Medical and Domino’s Pizza Enterprises.

Health insurer Medibank Private, chaired by Elizabeth Alexander, stands out for having five of its eight board positions held by women.

However, no more than 14 of the ASX 300 companies have between 40 % and 50% of board roles held by women. Heading the list is construction giant Mirvac Group with four out of its eight directors women.

“We have a strong focus on cultivating a workforce that is diverse and inclusive as we believe this drives better business outcomes. This extends to our board where we have 50 per cent female representation,” Mirvac chairman John Mulcahy said.

By contrast, gender equality at government-owned corporations has gone backwards federally, and in Queensland and Western Australia since 2013.

“It is clear to us that the message is starting to hit home in a number of important areas in the economy – in particular superannuation and ASX companies – but unfortunately not with some governments,” Women on Boards director Claire Braund said.

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