Call for S&P/ASX200 companies to set benchmarks for women in leadership

S&P/ASX200 women's wealth leadership HESTA

12 July 2017
| By Hope William-Smith |
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HESTA chief executive Debbie Blakey is calling on S&P/ASX200 companies to set specific timeframes and targets for the number of women who will be employed in senior executive roles, labelling Australia’s lack of corporate diversity “critical”.

Publicly-published timeframes and annual reports on progress toward better representation of women in executive positions was the focus of Blakey’s letter to S&P/ASX200 companies, in which she also gave recognition for recent improvements in transparency over gender issues.

“We see diversity as an accurate indicator of a well-run company more likely to deliver long-term value to shareholders, and, therefore, better long-term returns for our members,” she said.

“While a lot of attention has rightly been paid to the number of women on boards, we also need to increase the number of female senior executives to improve decision-making and support a healthy pipeline of women qualified to join boards in coming years.”

On behalf of HESTA, Blakey has called for a minimum 30 per cent target to be met and said her letter had the support of the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI).

“Women in senior leadership are also important role models who can foster diversity and champion a work environment that encourages other women to stay in the workforce and seek advancement,” she said.

“Having women in senior leadership flows through to all levels of an organisation, creating a more inclusive work culture and greater career opportunities for women.”

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