Australian firms named best in world for gender equality

National Australia Bank (NAB), Medibank and Westpac are among Australian financial services companies praised for their gender equality as the annual Equileap gender survey found a quarter of the top 100 most gender-equal companies in the world were Australian.

The annual Equileap survey researched over 3,000 companies in 23 countries on their gender balance at board, executive, senior management and workforce level. Companies were ranked on factors such as gender balance, policies promoting gender equality, and equal compensation.

It found 25 of the top 100 companies were located in Australia, including half of the top 10 companies, more than any other country.

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All of the Big Four banks were featured plus another 10 financial services firms.

The five firms in the top 10 were Mirvac, Telstra, Stockland, Origin Energy and Medibank.

This was followed by Westpac, NAB, BHP, ASX, Suncorp, Transurban, Caltex, Commbank, Lendlease, AGL Energy, Fortescue, Qantas, ANZ, GPT, South32, REA Group, Challenger, Coca Cola Amatil, Dexus, Vicinity Centre.

Equileap said: “Australian companies have consistently climbed in the Equileap rankings over the past few years and are now taking half of the top 10 spots. This can be credited to mandatory annual reporting on corporate gender equality and thorough gender audits facilitated by the Australian Government”.

Looking at the financial services sector specifically, Equileap said seven of the top 10 financial services companies were Australian. The sector had the highest percentage of women in the workforce, reaching 53% for banks.

But, the report said, women were struggling to reach higher levels of management with representation at executive level being only 17%.

Top 10 gender-equal firms







Bank of America








Air New Zealand

New Zealand



Origin Energy





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If you invested in the 5 Australian firms equally you underperformed the market by 10%. The Australia firms average return was 20% over 5 years.

If you invested in the 5 Global firms equally you outperformed the market by 10%. The average firm return was 60% over 5 years.

Is this comment meant to suggest that companies with equality perform worse than male dominated? Given that the article states women are struggling to get to senior management with only 17% in exec roles, it would indicate that the large majority of women in the company are worker bees with no actual input into decision making. The performance is irrelevant in comparison.

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