Boards should be 50 per cent women: Bishop

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Luke Costin
(Australian Associated Press)

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop wants to see ASX 200 boards commit to targets for female representation, but doesn’t support legislated quotas.

Men make up almost three-quarters of board members in Australia’s top 200 listed companies.

Almost a dozen companies boards don’t feature a single woman.

Australia’s most senior female federal politician says 49 per cent of board members in her department are women while the proportion is 40 per cent across the federal government.

Ms Bishop credits part of that to the government’s target of 50 per cent representation by 2020.

“It’s not a quota, we’re not forcing them…but it consciously makes people focus on the appointment of women,” she said on Wednesday.

“We’re seeing the benefits in the public sector, we need it in the private sector and then it will flow through society.”

Just one in every 12 ASX 200 board members were women in 2009, according to the Australian Institute of Company Directors.

Numbers have improved every year since, though the rate of change has halted this year with just 26 per cent of new appointments being women.

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