Mining exhibits strong female board representation

Elizabeth Gaines. Image: Fortescue Metals Group

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) has reported a lift in female representation across ASX200 board positions — it has climbed to 28 per cent, up from 25 per cent this time last year.

The percentage is even higher across the ASX100 companies: for the first time, women make up 30 per cent of board positions.

Non-executive director and founding Male Champions of Change member Kevin McCann AM said, “The arrival of a critical mass of women directors to boards raises the quality of board deliberations as a result of the collective intelligence from different perspectives.”

Mining makes up 20 per cent of the ASX100 and ASX200 companies.

Fortescue Metals Group boasts more than 50 per cent female representation on its board, while major miners BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and OZ Minerals all have multiple female members on their boards.

Fortescue announced the appointment of its first female chief executive Elizabeth Gaines last year, replacing long-standing CEO Nev Power in February.

However, while the quarterly results showed positive progress toward achieving 30 per cent female representation across ASX boards by the end of 2018, AICD chairman Elizabeth Proust AO expressed concerns in the drop off of female appointments.

The figure dropped to 49 per cent this May, which was below 50 per cent for the first time since January this year.

Proust said, “The obstacle to achieving this target has long been one of demand, not of supply. Australia is not lacking for talented and experienced women, and the breadth and depth of experience of female appointees in 2018 is evidence of that.”

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