(Bloomberg) -- New Australian stock exchange listings are lagging the broader market in terms of board gender diversity, with just 12.2% of directorships at companies that went public in recent years held by women.

The issue was particularly acute for the materials industry. The sector, which accounted for nearly half of the 401 ASX Ltd. listings between 2019 and 2022, had only 5% of board seats held by women, the Australian Institute of Company Directors Gender Diversity Progress Report showed, citing data from OpenDirector.

That contrasts with more established companies, with 35.1% of board positions at Australia’s 200 largest listed companies held by women on Sept. 1, the report said.

There is “a tendency to increase the proportion of women on IPO boards in the years following their listing,” said Mark Rigotti, chief executive officer of the Australian Institute of Company Directors. “This seems to indicate either a late recognition or late effort to redress the imbalance.”

Companies need to consider board composition as early as possible in the listing process to optimize their skillset and diversity, said Nicola Wakefield Evans, chair of the 30% Club Australia, in the report. The 30% Club advocates for a minimum of 30% of board and C-suite roles to be held by women.

The mining industry, a key pillar of the nation’s economy, has come under intense scrutiny in recent years for its treatment of women, following an inquiry into cases of abuse of workers at companies including BHP Group Ltd. and Rio Tinto Group.

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Author: Adam Haigh