30% Club launches latest push for diversity

David Gonski has launched the 30% Club’s 30% Surge for Diversity campaign, aimed at increasing momentum for change in ASX 200 companies that do not yet meet the club’s target of having 30 per cent female board members by the end of this year.

The campaign would see the 30% Club’s Investors Working Group members apply pressure through their channels to help drive action toward diversification. The Executive Search Working Group would offer assistance with the appointment process.

The club would also release a key research report on board succession practices and improving representation on large company boards.

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Chair of the 30% Club, Patricia Cross, said that after stalling last year, appointments of women to ASX 200 boards had again picked up this year. Women accounted for 36 per cent of appointments to ASX 200 boards last year, with that figure spiking to 47 per cent in the first two months of this year.

The 30% Club would be seeking to build on this momentum.

“Our focus is on those boards that have yet to reach 30 per cent, most specifically the 62 which have appointed one woman and feel they have thus ticked the gender diversity box,” Cross said.

“In that group there are over 20 boards with a number of male directors who have served longer than the ASX Corporate Governance Council’s recommended tenure. One way of quickly reaching 30 per cent is to replace each of those men with a woman.”

Speaking on the launch, Gonski said that achieving greater board diversity was crucial to enhancing corporate governance.

"Diversity of thought and independence are essential elements of an effective board, which is why we must continue to push to achieve our goals of at least 30 per cent female ASX 200 board members," he said.

Seventy-four ASX 200 companies have already reached the 30 per cent target, with women accounting for 26.7 per cent of ASX 200 directorships in total. Five ASX 200 companies still have no female directors.

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