Lawyer says NZ companies aren’t transparent enough about cultural diversity

by Sol Dolor25 Jan 2017
A top employment lawyer is pushing for transparency in cultural diversity at the senior management ranks of companies in New Zealand.

“If we're getting transparency around gender we should definitely be getting it around ethnicity – it is important,” Mai Chen, a board member of BNZ, told Radio NZ. “If you've got a company that is servicing New Zealanders, it would look very odd if they had almost no Maori, Pacific, or Asian people in positions of leadership.”

The publication noted that while publicly traded firms are required to divulge male and female directors and officers, they are not required to do the same for cultural diversity.

Chen also said that more needs to be done in terms of gender equality on NZX-listed firms’ boards.

The sentiment echoes recent comments made by Canterbury University School of Law Dean Ursula Cheer who said “relentless bias” was hindering women from making it to the boards of directors at companies.

“I think it's a combination of women not being appointed – and that's just a relentless bias that's both acknowledged and isn't – but it's also a case of some women still not putting themselves forward, and that can come down to confidence,” the professor said.

On average, just 17% of directors of NZX-listed firms are women. Radio NZ also recently found that 45 companies listed on the exchange had no women directors last year.

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