Gender diversity pays: Report

by 06 Oct 2011

Not-for-profit research centre The Reibey Institute has released its annual research report on women's leadership issues, noting amongst many findings that for the second year running over the past three and five year periods, ASX500 companies with women directors on their boards delivered significantly higher Return on Equity (ROE) than those companies without women directors (see charts below).

Tina Brothers, founder and executive director of the Institute, explained that this year's research included significant findings that re-enforced the findings from last year and provided interesting insight into the trends of 2011 vs 2010. The 2011 data also included new research baselined against the entire director population, noting the highest number of men on one board is 15 and the smallest is two. The highest number of women on a board is four with 267 companies having no female board representation.

5 year ROE  
ASX500 4.5%
Women directors 9.2%
No women directors 0.5%

3 year ROE  
ASX500 3.0%
Women directors 6.7%
No women directors -0.1%

The average board size is 6.2 people. Over 250 companies have no women on their boards where more than 250 companies have six or more males.

Who are our women leaders?

  • The average age of women directors on ASX200 boards is 52.2, which is up slightly from last year's average of 50.3.
  • More than one third of women directors on the ASX200 studied Commerce or Economics as part of their undergraduate degrees. New backgrounds we include this year include Pharmacy and Town Planning.

What are they doing?

  • Women leaders on boards in the ASX500 include 307 director positions, and 10 chairman roles.

Where are they?

  • Women hold 9.5% of ASX500 board positions, up from 7.1% from last year. The Reibey Institute identified 233 companies (47%) with women representatives on the board, leaving 267 (53%) with no gender diversity. This is up significantly from last year when almost two thirds of companies had no women representation.
  • Over 250 companies have no women on their boards whilst more than 250 companies have 6 or more men.

The ASX500 as a market has 235 unique women holding 307 director positions.

  • 20% of female directors serve on more than one board whilst 12% of their male counterparts serve on multiple boards.
  • Larger companies generally have more women on their board; however, there has been a marked increase in women representation over the last 12 months in the ASX400-500 band.


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