Gender diversity pushed higher

The Tasmanian Government has moved to increase the number of women on government boards and committees by setting a target of 50 per cent by July 2020.

Details of the target were outlined in its revised document Women on Boards Strategy 2015 – 2020, which is aimed at addressing the gender imbalance of membership of government boards and committees.

Actions contained within the strategy aimed at increasing the number of women on government boards include:

  • From July 2015, all new boards and committees will have a target of 50 per cent representation of women.
  • From July 2015, appointments to all existing boards will need to factor in the target of 50 per cent representation of women as vacancies fall due and new members are recruited to fill them.
  • The Government will establish a member-only group on the social networking site LinkedIn. Women and men will be invited to join the group to receive advice about board vacancies, information about training and development, and invitations to attend networking events.
  • The Government will contribute up to $50,000 per year for three years towards the cost of scholarships for women to undertake training through the Australian Institute of Company Directors, including the Company Directors Course and Foundations of Directorship course. The department of premier and cabinet will develop guidelines for the administration of the scholarship funding. 

Currently women hold 34 per cent of government board positions in Tasmania, while 120 of the total 960 Tasmanian government boards already have 50 per cent or greater representation of women.

The announcement follows a proposal put forward by a group of crossbenchers into parliament in recent weeks, that would require at least 40 per cent of all seats on government boards to be filled by women.

The private bill requires Commonwealth officials making appointments to government boards of more than four directors, to ensure that each board is made up of at least 40 per cent men and at least 40 per cent women.

This bill also requires each portfolio department to prepare a report each financial year setting out information relating to the gender composition of government boards within that portfolio.

The Minister for Women must then publish a consolidated report setting out the statistics regarding gender composition across all government boards.

While this has been an “aspirational” government policy for several years, the bill, if enacted, will give the policy legislative effect.

To read the full strategy document, click here.