A BNZ study into diversity in the workplace has highlighted the under representation of women on the boards of New Zealand banks including its own.
The bank last week released a report arguing the case for diversity in the workforce.
Rather than being politically correct, BNZ said diversity provides a distinct competitive advantage for entities that invest in encouraging a culture of diversity, flexibility and inclusion.
“A diverse workforce encourages fresh thinking, new perspectives and better decisions leading ultimately to better returns for shareholders," said Anthony Healy, a BNZ executive and head of the bank's Diversity Council.
The report notes the representation of women on the boards of major New Zealand trading banks is equivalent to 22.92% of all directors.
BNZ says this is comparable with European Union banks and higher in comparison to banks worldwide.
A quick look at the make up of major New Zealand bank boards shows BNZ itself with just two female directors out of nine in Susan Macken and Prudence Flacks.
In Joan Withers ANZ has just one woman out of seven directors. ASB has its CEO Barbara Chapman and Jane Freeman on its seven member board, and Westpac has Jan Dawson as the sole woman on its six person board.
State owned Kiwibank has two women - Alison Gerry and Catherine Savage - on its seven member board.
BNZ's report highlights research from Canadian think tank Catalyst that found boards with high proportions of women can provide between 26% and 60% higher returns on investment.
It also pointed to a McKinsey & Co report suggesting Fortune 500 companies with three or more women on the board gain a significant performance advantage over those with the fewest.
BNZ, which has five female executives in its executive team of nine, last year won a United Nations Women's Empowerment Principles Benchmarking for Change Award.