by clicking the arrows at the side of the page, or by using the toolbar.
by clicking anywhere on the page.
by dragging the page around when zoomed in.
by clicking anywhere on the page when zoomed in.
web sites or send emails by clicking on hyperlinks.
Email this page to a friend
Search this issue
Index - jump to page or section
Archive - view past issues
Connexus : Issue 41
Going by the board There’s more work to be done if mutuals want equitable gender representation at the board level. By CynDI TeBBeL F irst the good news: Australian mutuals are doing better than ASX200 companies when it comes to increasing the number of female directors on their boards. Out of a total of 109 mutuals surveyed, 43 have at least 25 per cent fema le representation. At another 11, at least 40 per cent of the directors are female. However, the 2012 Women on Boards Diversity Index also shows that the proportion at mutuals overall is still just 21.2 per cent. As at March 2011 the percentage of women on the boards of credit unions and building societies was 18.4 per cent. Still, that’s better than the 13.9 per cent at ASX 200 companies. By compar ison, the num ber of women on top-paying Australian government boards and committees has increased almost 5 per cent, from 31 to 35.9 per cent, since last year. While Australian mutuals are performing well, they have some work to do to achieve better results, says Women on Boards executive director Claire Braund. “ With the 50-50 gender split in their customer base and a strong char ter of social corporate responsibility and community care, mutuals should be aiming for at least 40 per cent female board members at the majority of organisations by 2015,” she says. The business case for promoting more women to board level positions is strong. Abundant research indicates that gender balance leads to improvements in financial performance and governance. Braund says equity on boards also leads to better group decision-making and a higher likelihood of best practice in board evaluations, codes of conduct, conflict of interest guidelines and executive remuneration arrangements. Stepping up Experienced company director Alexandrea Cannon is well positioned to comment on the state of play at mutuals. She began her career in manufacturing and human resources before joining the mutuals sector in 1989. She now chairs Credit Union SA’s board and also sits on the boards of Country Arts SA and the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust. In 1989 she was appointed deputy director of ETSA Employees Credit Union, which proved a great training ground for Cannon. “I’d go to meetings, listen and ask questions. But I voted only if a director wasn’t there and I was standing in for him. And in those days they were all ‘him’,” she says. Cannon took a break from the mutuals sector before returning in 2005. ETSA had become PowerState Credit Union and its al l-male board was looking for someone with a background in HR and was forward thinking enough to seek a woman. Cannon fitted the bill. She became a board adviser and, within nine months, a director. Soon she was joined by another woman and, by the time the ratio was 50:50, the gender issue had disappeared. 42 Connexus Diversity