THE Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) has called for all ASX 200 companies to ensure that 30 per cent of directors are female by 2018.
Managing director John Brogden says the 35,000 AICD members, including top-listed companies as well as private businesses and not-for-profit organisations, should all strive towards 30 per cent representation.
"The 30 per cent target will apply to all company structures," he says.
"However, we recognise that the four-year time frame to achieve the target for ASX 200 boards may not be appropriate for smaller listed and non-listed companies, so we have not set a specific target date for these organisations to meet it.
"Numerous pieces of research demonstrate a positive link between the level of female representation on boards and improved corporate performance."
In 2010, less than 10 per cent of directors were female, and 87 of the ASX 200 didn't have a single female director.
Nowadays women make up 20 per cent of ASX 200 directors and more than 23 per cent of ASX 20 directors. Every ASX 20 company has at least one female director.
However, 34 of the ASX 200 companies still don't have a female director, and only 12 have a female chair.
Brogden says "more needs to be done" to increase female representation and the "new policy will help achieve that at a faster pace."
"We believe that the director community setting its own 30 per cent target is a better approach than a mandated quota imposed by government," he says.
"We have always said that companies should set their own measurable targets for gender diversity and to facilitate their efforts we are now nominating a standard that we consider appropriate."
The AICD runs several practical activities to encourage diversity, including the Chairmen's Mentoring Program, the Diversity Scholarship Program, a Public Sector Mentoring Program, and the Victorian Women's Governance Scholarship.
It publishes monthly statistics on the number of female ASX 200 directors.
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