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Diversity equals good governance

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A recent report out of Canada is again highlighting the importance of good governance of organisations by highlighting the connection between better corporate boards and financial results.
At the Australian Institute of Company Directors, we have long argued the importance of good governance and that diversity in the boardroom is critically important in achieving good governance.
Most recently, there has been a focus on increasing the number of women on Australian boards, and while this is only one component of diversity, it remains an extremely important one.
There have been a number of initiatives to increase the number of women on Australian boards.
The Chairmen’s Mentoring Program was run for the first time in 2010 and since this time the number of women on boards of the ASX 200 has jumped.
According to statistics gathered by the Australian Institute of Company Directors, 15.4 per cent of ASX 200 directorships are now held by women, up from 8.3 per cent at the beginning of 2010.
While this number may still seem too low, it is important to recognise that women are now making up a much higher percentage of new appointments.
In Canberra, we are close to finalising the first year of the Public Sector Mentoring program which is specifically designed to increase the number of women on public sector boards. This initiative has already assisted a number of women achieve board and audit committee positions of public sector organisations.
Also of great importance is the Federal Government’s BoardLinks program. This program has been established to provide more opportunities for women to be appointed to their first board, to further their director careers and to increase the number of potential candidates for Australian Government Boards.
We recognise that mentoring is only one of a number elements to assist in gaining board positions. In the ACT there are a number of events being planned which highlight the importance of board diversity and also enable networking opportunities to build profile and connections.
Keep an eye out on the Company Directors website for more information on the activities in this space.

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