JB HiFi, Nick Scali, Baby Bunting and James Hardie have no women on the executive leadership team

Gender equality for CEO roles in Australia’s top public companies is still 100 years away for women based on current trends, according to a new report.

The “surprising” findings come from a new report by Chief Executive Women, which showed that only 14 ASX 200 companies were led by women in 2022.

This was just four more than six years ago, demonstrating the glacial pace of change.

Australian companies had “stuck” in their promotion of women, according to the report, with fewer women on gender-balanced leadership teams than in 2021, from 58 to 50.

It also revealed that key operating roles held by women at ASX 200 companies increased by just 3 per cent between 2017 and 2022 to 15 per cent.

The analysis showed that in the broader ASX 300, the number of companies without women on executive leadership teams increased to 47 in 2022, up from 44 last year, a “disturbing” trend, according to the president of Chief Executive Women. , Sam Mostyn.

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Companies in the ASX 300 without women on their executive leadership teams include retailers JB HiFi, Baby Bunting and Nick Scali, materials company James Hardie and Mineral Resources.

Nearly two-thirds of companies also do not have women in so-called line roles, which are seen as the stepping stone to CEO positions, and include roles such as CFO, CEO, COO and group executives.

The data also revealed that, of the 28 CEO appointments at ASX 300 companies in the last year, only four were women.

The report made sobering reading, revealing that at the current rate, it would take 100 years, until 2122, to achieve gender equality in CEO roles, while it would be 2058 before there is gender balance in management roles. line.

Ms Mostyn said there was a “deep sense of urgency” for needed change from both government and business.

He called for “dramatic” changes, including legislation on financial sanctions against companies that fail to comply with gender equality reports, as well as an obligation for employers to introduce targets.

“Incremental just isn’t enough and something quite dramatic has to change,” he said. the australian.

“It’s not just that things have regressed or stalled, we’ve got some disturbing trends in areas where you’d expect better results. Not only are things stalling, there are some areas where we have seen a reversal.

“There’s something about the impact of Covid and diverting our attention away from this…and those in charge still don’t understand the vast improvement available to them by having gender-balanced leadership teams and promoting women into leadership roles.”

The report also called for gender balance targets to be set to improve women’s career paths, after the analysis found that 70 per cent of companies achieved gender balance after setting targets of at least 40 per cent. hundred women.

Lack of available childcare, as well as limitations in affordability, coupled with inadequate paid parental leave schemes, were also hampering women’s career progression, according to the report.

He has recommended universal early childhood education and care, higher pay for roles in the care industry, and public hiring that prioritizes organizations with gender-balanced leadership.

First Nations women and immigrant, refugee and women from diverse cultural backgrounds were also underrepresented when it came to leadership roles, according to the report.

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