Gender Quotas on Boards - Is It Time for Australia to Lean In?
Keywords:Corporate Law, Corporate Governance, Feminist Analysis of Law, Board Gender Diversity, Board Gender Quotas, Legislation
AbstractThis article examines whether Australia should introduce a gender quota on ASX 200 boards. Although existing institutional arrangements favour voluntary initiatives, Australia may be at a critical juncture where two factors — the public, pragmatic nature of the statutory regulation of corporations in Australia and the current salience of gender as a political issue —may favour the introduction of a quota. In particular, Australian policy-makers may be amenable to change by observing initiatives from other jurisdictions. It is argued that we should maintain a healthy scepticism about functionalist arguments such as the business case for women on boards. Rather, we should invoke enduring justifications such as equality, parity and democratic legitimacy to support a quota. The optimal design of an Australian gender board quota will be also be explored.