Female board representation grew in 2018

Women are taking more seats in the boardroom, with female directors growing by 2.8 per cent in 2018 in the latest MSCI research. Progress is still slow, with current projections predicting that 30 per cent of directorships will be held by women as late as 2029 in Australia if the rate remains the same.

The number of boards with majority female representation increased from seven to 11 in 2017, with MediBank Private leading the charge with six out of 10 female board members.

Thirty-two boards were an even split, which is an increase of 11 on 2017. Over 41 per cent of those companies in the index had at least three female directors. Financial services had the highest proportion of boards with at least three female board members - 187 finance companies.

Chief executive roles are still rarely awarded to women, but emerging markets like Malaysia, Taiwan, Philippines and China had more CEOs than directors as women.

Key findings include:

  • Women held nearly 18 per cent of all directorships at MSCI ACWI Index companies at October 16, 2018

  • A fifth of the 2,694 companies in the MSCI ACWI Index had all-male boards

  • Leading countries were Norway, France, Italy and Sweden (percentage-wise) while in absolute numbers the United States and United Kingdom were in the lead; Asian countries were the most likely to have all-male boards

Download the full Women on Boards Progress Report 2018