INTOUCH : What about the other half?

New Zealand can at least boast two women prime ministers, but its track record on boardroom diversity remains abysmal – still just 8.6 percent representation for our top 100 listed companies.
Now Business NZ and the Institute of Directors have teamed up with the Ministry of Women’s Affairs to help businesses understand the now well established link between increased gender diversity in the boardroom and better business performance.
As BNZ’s chief executive Phil O’Reilly puts it: “Effective businesses will capitalise on the opportunity because it is in their own interest. Planning now for broader capability at board level will be hallmark of tomorrow’s business success.”
However, the New Zealand Government is not following the track recently advocated by the Australian Stock Exchange of requiring listed companies to adopt gender diversity targets. According to Women’s Affairs Minister Pansy Wong, “cooperative, business-led approach should lift our low representation”.
IOD chief executive Nicki Crauford agrees women should be appointed to boards on the basis of merit not gender. She says shareholders who appoint directors should “tap into the widest possible director candidate pool to create the best board possible”.

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