Women On Boards (WOB), the organisation founded in 2006 to increase the number of women on Australian boards, has named and shamed those companies in the ASX200 who show little or no interest in gender diversity.
According to the latest WOB Traffic Light Index launched in Sydney last week, 15.5% (31 companies) from the ASX200 have been given a red light, meaning they show little or no compliance with basic gender diversity principles. A further 29.5% (59 companies) rated only slightly higher appearing at the bottom of the amber category.
Only eight per cent of the ASX200 (16 companies) have been given the top rating of a Green light, renewing calls for gender quotas for companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX).
New to the Green rating in 2013 are Aurizon, Caltex and Suncorp Metway. They join the ASX, Commonwealth Bank, Commonwealth Property Office and CFS Retail Property Trust Group, MirvacGroup, National Australia Bank, Stockland, Telstra, Transurban Group, Westpac, Woolworths and Wotif.com, as the companies leading gender diversity performance and reporting in Australia.
The 2013 WOB Traffic Light Index is the first comprehensive review of how companies in the ASX200 are progressing in relation to the reporting and performance of gender balance within their organisation.
Speaking at the launch on Thursday 26 September, Women on Boards Chair and report author Ruth Medd, said there was a clear disparity in companies with female directors and those who have none. “Of the Red rated companies, 77 per cent have no female director while more than 80 per cent of the Green rated companies have at least two females on their boards.”
“We cannot keep ignoring the stark reality that in corporate Australia in 2013 women still receive lower pay, fewer Board seats and fewer senior executive roles,” she said.
On Friday The Australian reported that an increasing number of professional women and others are joining the call to legislate quotas for ASX companies.
John Atkin, non-executive director of Aurizon, a company which has been given a Green light rating by WOB, has said there is a need for quotas. So too has Arlene Tansey, a director on five boards, including Adelaide Brighton and Pacific Brands.
In a piece written two years ago for Australian Women Online, Claire Braund, Executive Director of Women on Boards, said the percentage of women in senior leadership in ASX companies has fallen because few businesses have any sort of measurable or hard targets for gender diversity.
But improving gender diversity doesn’t just magically happen when more women enter the workforce. As those who have improved gender diversity within their organisation will tell you, companies need to make a concerted effort to solve the problem and yes, this does mean setting targets.
Unsurprisingly, the majority of companies given a Red light rating by WOB are operating in the male-dominated sectors of Energy, Materials (including mining), Utilities, and Transportation.
Red Light Rating
Alacer Gold Group
Energy World Corporation
Henderson Group PLC
Horizon Oil Limited
Northern Star Resources
OceanaGold Corporation CDI
Qube Logistics Holdings
Shopping Centres Australia Property Group
Silver Lake Resources
Earlier this year, Women on Boards created the Guidelines for gender balance performance and reporting Australia to help organisations measure, report and improve performance in relation to gender balance.
A full copy of the Guidelines and a comprehensive summary of the Traffic Light Index are available at www.womenonboards.org.au. The full report from the Traffic Lights Index plus a best practices document is available for a fee from Women on Boards.
The complete list of ASX200 company rating can be downloaded from: http://www.womenonboards.org.au/pubs/traffic-light/2013-traffic-lights/wob-2013-traffic-lights-launch-ranking.pdf