The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ASCI) has completed its annual audit into board diversity of ASX 200 companies, concluding that progress has been painfully slow in achieving a modicum of gender diversity.

ASCI has advocated for improved gender diversity, with an objective of having ASX 200 companies achieving a benchmark of having at least 2 women directors on their boards by 2014.

Findings of this year's audit show that 15.5% of ASX200 board members are women. This is an increase of 24 women from 2012.

ACSI President Gerard Noonan notes the limited improvement in ASX50 companies on board diversity.

However, he finds it surprising that only 24 additional women were available for appointments to ASX200 companies this year.

“Although there has been some progress, the rate at which change is taking place is incredibly slow. Frankly, it is unacceptable. Surely there were more than 24 women available for appointment to board positions in the last year? It paints a very disappointing picture on the issue of board diversity overall,‟ Mr Noonan says.

Key findings of the research in 2013 include that:

  • A total of 66% of ASX200 companies – 132 – currently underperform the benchmark that ACSI set in 2010 ie. they only have either one or no women on their boards
  • For the first time, all ASX50 companies currently have at least 1 woman on the board
  • In aggregate, just 15.5% of board positions are held by women (230 positions) – up from 14% (206 positions) in 2012
  • Men hold over 1,000 more board positions than women (1,250 men compared with 230 women)
  •  A total of 164 individual women serve on ASX200 boards – with 28% holding multiple directorships
  • There are no ASX200 company boards that have a majority of women
  • The median company board is made up of 6 men and 1 woman
  • Only 4% (8) of board chairs are women and 4% (8) of CEOs are women.