Gender parity on financial firm boards not yet a reality

While women as chairs on boards in financial and insurance firms have performed best among other sectors, they still have not reached parity, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). 

WGEA’s ‘Gender Equity Insights 2021’ report found women were underrepresented on boards in all 20 sectors the agency surveyed.  

Financial and insurance services performed the best and had reached parity for female and male representation when it came to board directors.  

The report said finance and insurance companies were most likely to follow the best gender equity practices with its score rising from 57.5 in 2015 to 61.6 in 2020. A score of zero indicated no gender equity practices being implemented at any time and 100 if all policies and practices were implemented every year. 

The sector was also 2.9 times more likely to follow best practice in gender equity policies and processes compared to the average across all industries. However, while the sector had seen some of the largest decreases in gender pay gap over time it still had the highest gender pay gap.  

When it came to specific policy/practice indicators the finance and insurance sector scored the best in sex-based harassment and discrimination at 99 and remuneration at 91. A score of 100 indicated consistency for each indicator if the corresponding policy had been in place for all waves of WGEA reporting data. 

The sector scored the lowest in board targets (15), reporting pay equity metrics to executives (25), and objectives to achieve pay equity (29). 

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