Support for 40:40 Vision expands to ASX 300 as SCA signs up

Southern Cross Austereo is among the latest to sign up to 40:40 Vision, the investor-led initiative to achieve gender balance in executive leadership that has now expanded to the ASX300.

SCA joins homewares retailer Adairs, healthcare company Healius and insurer QBE among the latest signatories.

Chief Executive Women (CEW) census data shows companies in the ASX300 are some of the worst performing when it comes to gender diversity in executive leadership, compared to the ASX100 and ASX501.

Sixty two percent of all ASX300 companies have no women in line roles, meaning there’s no consistent pipeline to increase the proportion of female CEOs and executive leaders.

HESTA CEO and 40:40 Vision Steering Committee Chair Debby Blakey acknowledged the leadership of the newest signatories, saying the expansion to the ASX300 was designed to continue to build the momentum for change, and says, “The stats speak for themselves; CEW census data shows only 1 in 23 ASX300 CEOs appointed last year were women and there are only 18 women CEOs across the entire ASX300. As investors, we felt that if we were to see the biggest change then we had to broaden our focus to where progress is slowest.”

“Women represent only 26% of executive leadership roles in the ASX300, well below the 40% target. By focusing on the broader ASX 300 we aim to encourage the significant shift in thinking that’s required to improve diversity across corporate Australia.”

As a recent signatory SCA’s CEO Grant Blackley acknowledged it had achieved gender parity across all organisational levels, except its executive leadership, saying: “Joining 40:40 Vision demonstrates to our workforce and to our investors and other stakeholders that we are committed to addressing this gap.”

Launched a little over a year ago, the initiative has seen strong support from ASX listed companies with the current signatories having a combined value of $550bn and representing close to 25% of the index.

They include: Adairs, ANZ, BHP, Bluescope, Challenger, Domino’s, Healius, IDP Education, IGO, Iress, Mirvac, NextDC, Origin, Pendal, QBE, Ramsay Health, Sothern Cross Austereo, SkyCity, South32, Tabcorp, Viva Energy, Webjet and Westpac.