Listed companies will be required to disclose how many women they have on their boards and in senior management, stockmarket operator NZX says.
The new diversity rule, which will requires the approval of the Financial Markets Authority, would apply to the annual reports of companies with a balance date on or after December 31.
As well as printing a breakdown of directors and senior management by gender, businesses with a formal diversity policy will have to to evaluate their performance in regard to that policy.
But the new rule doesn't actually compel companies to introduce a formal diversity policy.
The "watered-down" move doesn't go far enough, according to the National Council of Women of New Zealand.
“In our submission on NZX’s proposed diversity rules, we urged that listed companies be required to provide a breakdown of the gender composition of their board, senior management team and any subsidiary board. It is disappointing that NZX has stopped well short of this," said president Elizabeth Bang.
“NCWNZ also urged that boards should be required to report on their performance against a formal diversity policy Again, the NZX rules fall short in not requiring all listed companies to have such a policy
“Women make up less than 10 percent of the NZX top 100 company directors. Surely this tells us that a formal diversity policy should not be optional.'
She added: “NCWNZ gives NZX muted applause for a positive initiative, albeit one that represents a half step forward and doesn’t go far enough."
The Equal Employment Opportunities Trust said local and international research shows there were many benefits associated with having more women at governance level on publicly listed companies.
Chair Michael Barnett said: “I hope this motivates more companies to look at their boards and realize how few women they have around the table and make some changes.”