Is there a need to increase the number of women on company boards in Australia?

Essay by emerry91University, Master'sB+, June 2014

download word file, 12 pages 0.0

Law schools and MBA programs have been yielding equal numbers of male and female graduates for more than two decades now. One would reasonably expect, then, that women would populate the Australian boardrooms in large numbers. Yet the number is beyond dismal. Despite the improvements in women's working lives and prospects, discrimination and disadvantages still prevail, specifically the poor representation of women in leadership positions. The ASX Corporate Governance Council (CGC) introduced a number of new recommendations aimed at increasing the diversity of people who work within, and serve on boards of, ASX-listed entities. The CGC particularly includes a recommendation on gender diversity, urging companies to appoint more women on their boards. This essay will begin by pointing out the advantages of having more women on board. Then it will examine the ASX's Corporate Governance Principles and Recommendations (Guidelines) proposed by the CGC, which is proven to be successful. Next, this essay will discuss the legislative quota method adopted in Norway, finally arguing that this is ultimately a counter-productive solution.

Case for increment

It is clear that while companies need to maximize profits, it is not the most strategic business practice. Through its focus on stakeholder relations, a key tenet of corporate sustainability is its reputation - a "publics' cumulative judgment of firms over time". Research has shown that good reputation augments a firm's ability to begets employee retention, and enhances corporate branding. Fombrum identified a wide range of factors that contribute to a positive reputation; one in specific is the demonstration of corporate social responsibility (CSR). It was noted that CSR activities enable firms to enhance corporate reputation; corporations that gave more to charity had more positive repute.[1: Charles Fombrum, 'Corporate Governance' (2006) 8 Corporate Reputation Review, 261, 262. ][2: Charles Fombrum and Mark Shanley, 'What's in a Name?...