An Australian Perspective on a Global Phenomenon: Initiatives to Place Women on Corporate Boards of Directors

Australian Corporate & Securities Law Review, Forthcoming

U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-13

39 Pages Posted: 25 May 2012  

Douglas M. Branson

University of Pittsburgh School of Law

Date Written: May 21, 2012

Abstract

In the United States, the representation of women on corporate boards of directors has been flat for 6 years now. By contrast, elsewhere around the world the topic is a hot button issue. This includes Australia where the proportion of board seats held by women has suddenly jumped from 8% in 2010 to nearly 14% today. The Australian Stock Exchange (ASX) has adopted a “comply or explain” diversity disclosure requirement (for emphasis termed an “if not, why not” disclosure requirement), which emphasizes gender diversity. The requirement is even more stringent than the London Stock Exchange (LSX) comply or explain regulation adopted after the Lord Mervyn Davies Report on women in corporate governance appeared in February 2011. The Australian Institute of Company Directors also has instituted a mentoring/sponsorship program, the first of its kind in the world, designed to obtain board seats for women. This article reviews these Australian as well as global developments, including enactment of quota laws (especially Norway and France), certificate and pledge programs (“Rooney Rules”), and hard law disclosure requirements (United States).

Keywords: Corporate Governance, Governance, Board Composition, Board of Directors, Women and the Law, Gender and the Law, Directors, Women Directors, Women's Studies, Feminist Jurisprudence

JEL Classification: G39, K22, M14

Suggested Citation

Branson, Douglas M., An Australian Perspective on a Global Phenomenon: Initiatives to Place Women on Corporate Boards of Directors (May 21, 2012). Australian Corporate & Securities Law Review, Forthcoming; U. of Pittsburgh Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2012-13. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2064087

Douglas Branson (Contact Author)

University of Pittsburgh School of Law ( email )

3900 Forbes Ave.
Pittsburgh, PA 15260
United States
412-624-3437 (Phone)

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