20/09/2017 - 14:31

State aims for 50% women on boards

20/09/2017 - 14:31

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The state government has set itself the target of increasing the number of women appointed to its boards, committees and advisory bodies to 50 per cent by 2019, though it has a long way to go before hitting gender equality at its major trading enterprises.

Only two out of Horizon Power's eight board members are women. Photo: Attila Csaszar

The state government has set itself the target of increasing the number of women appointed to its boards, committees and advisory bodies to 50 per cent by 2019, though it has a long way to go before hitting gender equality at its major trading enterprises.

In support of this goal, the government has launched its OnBoardWA website, which encourages diverse representation on its board and committees, and has called on women to express their interest.

The proportion of appointees that are women has lifted slightly since the state election, up 1 per cent, to 44 per cent.

While a positive initiative, more work is needed to ensure equal gender representation on the government’s top trading enterprises such as Synergy, Horizon Power, Water Corporation and Western Power.

Of the 28 people sitting on those boards combined, only nine (or 32 per cent) are women.

Horizon Power has the lowest female representation on its board, with just two out of eight being women.

"Government boards and committees rely on community members willing to offer their time, experience, expertise and advice,” Premier Mark McGowan said.

“A cross-section of the community is needed to voice new ideas. For this to happen, it is imperative we increase the number of potential nominees through the OnBoardWA register.

"To ensure our state reaches its full potential, we must also fully utilise the skills, insights, perspectives and experiences of women.’’

Mr McGowan said the government was working to generate positive change and create real opportunities for women’s participation, including being responsible for some of the interventions required to close the gender gap.

"Gender balance on decision-making bodies improves performance, provides representative leadership and produces real economic benefits,” he said. 

"I encourage everyone, especially women to register with OnBoardWA to ensure a pool of talented and knowledgeable Western Australians is available for selection to government boards and committees.”

Women's Interests Minister Simone McGurk said government boards and committees should reflect the diversity of society.

“Sadly, currently they don't go far enough. They should also be composed of the best expertise on offer, but by not having a gender balance we are missing out on a huge array of talent,” she said.

"We know that leadership is the key if we want decision-making bodies throughout our community to reflect gender equality.

 "I strongly encourage women who want to broaden their skills and give Western Australian women a voice; register with OnBoardWA and tell us what you can do."

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