From 1 April 2014 businesses with 100 or more employees will be required by section 13 of the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 to lodge reports each year containing information relating to various gender equality indicators.
The Act defines “gender equality indicators” as including the gender composition of governing bodies of relevant employers.
The “governing body of a relevant employer” means the board of directors, trustees, committee of management, council or other governing authority of the employer.
Boards of affected businesses, whether ASX listed or not, should adopt appropriate policies.
The ASX Diversity Resources is a helpful reference site.
The 2012 Australian Census of Women in Leadership imdicated that Women hold 12.3% of directorships in the ASX 200 but only 9.2% in the ASX 500.
Before 1 April 2014, the Minister will, by legislative instrument, set minimum standards in relation to specified gender equality indicators (GEIs).
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency will develop industry-specific benchmarks against the GEIs to allow employers to compare their progress in gender equality with others in their industry.
From the 2014–15 reporting period, if a relevant employer submits a report that does not meet a minimum standard, and does not improve against it by the end of two further reporting periods, it may be non-compliant.