30% Club holds small-cap sector to account

7 March 2019

Gender diversity watchdog, The 30% Club, has set its sights on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) 201-300 companies, after previously only targeting the ASX 200.

The Club, which aimed to see growth in participation of women on ASX companies’ boards, announced new targets for the next 99 companies to meet its 30 per cent women on boards target by the end of 2021.

Nicola Wakefield Evans, chair of the 30% Club, said it was an amazing achievement as Australia was the first country in the OECD region to achieve targets without regulatory intervention.

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“It's been proven that gender diversity can be reached without quotas and intervention as long as there are passionate advocates for diversity across ASX chairs and directors,” she said.

While last year saw women account for more than 30 per cent of board positions across the ASX 50 and ASX 100, Wakefield Evans said the number of female company directors for the ASX 201-300 still dwindled at 19.7 per cent, with 28 of those companies having no women on their boards.

The Club is close to hitting their target for ASX 200 companies, with 29.7 per cent of all board positions in those companies held by women, but again, three of those companies, ARB Corporation, Emeco Holdings and TPG Telecom were yet to have any women on their boards.

Wakefield Evans said the hard work for the Club was just beginning, and it prompted the set-up of an investment banking/private equity working group to seek greater support from businesses and the investment community.

“The community at large expects the composition of boards to reflect the broader Australian population,” she said. “I believe the time is right to look beyond ASX 200 companies to also include the small cap companies sector.”

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