Women have made great strides in taking leadership roles over recent decades, but there is still a long way to go in terms of involvement in corporate boards, The Nationals Member for Murray Valley, Tim McCurdy, said today.
The number of women on the top 200 Australian corporate boards is just 14 per cent, Mr McCurdy said. Government and not-for-profit boards are better, but not much better!
Sadly, Australia is not the enlightened country it could be, and should be, when it comes to leadership diversity, and there is a dearth of women on boards, and even fewer women chairs. So, whilst there is much to celebrate, there remains much to do, he said.
Women in rural and regional areas make an enormous contribution to the social and economic wellbeing of their communities, yet their contribution is largely undervalued, and we need to encourage women to join decision-making boards and committees, Mr McCurdy said.
Increasing the variety of people serving on boards offers an opportunity to tap into a rich pool of talented candidates, bringing new voices, experiences and approaches to the decision-making process and adding depth to existing skills and ideas, and, bringing the board closer to properly representing stakeholders.
Greater diversity expands the networks available to your group, helps to reach your ‘audience’, increases the profile of your group and makes for better governance, he said. With women making up 51 per cent of the population, having women on boards makes them more relevant to the whole community.
Our Community, the Women’s Leadership Institute Australia and the Alcoa Foundation recently launched a new book to help get more women into leadership positions in Australia. Get on a Board [Even Better – Become the Chair] is designed for women considering a role on a community, Government or corporate board.
Designed to inspire and empower more women to take the leap into the board arena, the book examines the board lifecycle, from first consideration of such a role, through finding the right board, getting the gig, honing your performance, and, finally, moving on.
It includes tips, insights and tricks for aspiring board members and many insights for men and boards as well on making their structures more welcoming to women.
The book was produced as part of the joint Advancing Diversity and Women in Australia project, which will also involve a regional training program for women aspiring to board roles, supported through the Alcoa Foundation.
Our Community is the leading provider of information and training for community organisations in Australia and has long been involved in the campaign to create more opportunities for leadership positions for women.
The Alcoa Foundation has a proud history or supporting the advancement of community leadership in Australia through the provision of grants, volunteers and expert support. More information about the project, and the book, can be found online, at www.ourcommunity.com.au/books/getonaboard , Mr McCurdy concluded.