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Less Women on Government Boards

13 October 2015 at 11:38 am
Ellie Cooper
The number of women on government boards has gone backwards, according to the latest figures.

Ellie Cooper | 13 October 2015 at 11:38 am


Less Women on Government Boards
13 October 2015 at 11:38 am

The number of women on government boards has gone backwards, according to the latest figures.

A report by the Department of Prime Minister and Cabinet showed that only 39.1 per cent of government board positions were made up by women.

The figure has fallen behind 2013 levels, when 41.7 per cent of board positions were occupied by women.

Acting Shadow Minister for Women, Senator Doug Cameron, said more needed to be done to reverse the current trend.

“The downward trend is particularly worrying,” Senator Cameron said.

“This is a real concern for all Australians. The evidence is clear that boards with greater gender balance perform better.”

According to the report the Human Services and Social Services portfolios have the highest percentage of women on boards, 66.7 per cent and 53.1 per cent respectively.

There are now fewer Government board positions overall, with the government’s Smaller Government Initiative seeing 1443 positions shed since 2013.

Following the release of the report, Minister for Women, Senator Michaelia Cash, announced $100,000 to fund scholarships through Chief Executive Women to promote women in science, technology, engineering and maths.

But Cameron said this only addressed part of the issue of getting more women onto boards.

“Labor believes there are many capable women, deserving of appointment. What's lacking under the Liberals is the political will to appoint them,” he said.

“Of particular concern is the lack of women appointed to boards in the employment portfolio, at 24.1 per cent falling well short of the 40 per cent target.”

Powerful crossbench Senators, Nick Xenophon, Jacqui Lambie, Glenn Lazarus and Larissa Waters have sponsored a Bill that is currently before the Senate, requiring government boards to comprise of at least 40 per cent men and 40 per cent women.

Ellie Cooper  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

Ellie Cooper is a journalist covering the social sector.

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