The number of women on boards of ASX200 companies increased marginally in 2009, according to a new index that names the "good guys" and "the laggards".
Gender-diversity advocate Women on Boards this week released the first data set in the Boardroom Diversity Index, which tracks the number of women on the boards of ASX200 companies, credit unions, superannuation funds, national sporting bodies, top government business boards, cooperative research centres and the rural research and development corporations.
It found just 8.7 per cent of board members are women, up from 8.3 per cent last year.
The index also shows that the proportion of companies without a female director increased in 2009 to 53 per cent, which is "an embarrassing statistic for the ASX community", says Women on Boards chair Ruth Medd.
Launching the index, Medd said there is a real need to measure and report women's progress (or lack of it) at board level across a number of significant sectors, identifying those who are making changes and those who are not.
Women on Boards is also putting ASX200 companies on notice that unless there is a real, sustained increase in the numbers of women on their boards within three years, it will push for the introduction of mandatory quotas.
"We prefer companies to achieve gender equity through voluntary targets, but there comes a time when enough is enough - and Australia's professional women have just about reached that point," Medd says.
The index identifies companies that added at least one woman to their board in 2009 as "good guys":
Pacific Brands (from two to four women);
Westpac (from two to three women);
Aristocrat Leisure (from two to three women);
Coca Cola Amatil;
The "laggards" (by capitalisation), it says, are:
Newcrest Mining Limited;
Fortescue Metals Group Ltd;
Leighton Holdings Limited;
Oil Search Limited;
Sonic Healthcare Limited;
Asciano Group; and
Incitec Pivot Limited.
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