Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis, says the latest Australian Census of Women in Leadership shows women are still being largely shut out of senior decision making roles in Australian business. "Despite progress in many key indicators, women continue to be dramatically under-represented in the most senior business positions," said Ms Ellis. "Sadly this year's Census also reveals that the percentage of ASX200 companies with male-only boards has actually increased from 51 per cent in 2008 to 54 per cent in 2010," she said. Data collected by the Australian Institute of Company Directors found that women currently represent 10.1 per cent of directors on ASX200 boards. Chief executive officer of the Australian Institute of Company Directors John Colvin said that although more needs to be done, real progress has been made in 2010 in getting more women on top corporate boards. According to the AICD there are now six female chairs and seven female CEOs. But Mr Colvin conceded there was still more work to be done. "As the EOWA Census shows, there is also more to be done in addressing the low number of women in executive management and line management positions in our top companies, which are a main 'pipeline' for talented women to ultimately move onto ASX200 boards," he said. Ms Ellis said the federal government is committed to increasing the number of women on boards by providing scholarships to women through the AICD. 70 high performing women will receive the scholarships, which will entitle them to attend the AICD company directors courses. Ms Ellis said that while the number of women on government boards stands at 33.4 per cent there was still more to do. "The Australian Government committed during the election to a new target of 40 per cent representation for both women and men on Federal Government boards," she said. "We are leading by example when it comes to women's representation on boards and I am calling on all Australian businesses to follow suit," "Tapping into women's skills and experience is not just good for women - it is also good for business and can improve international competitiveness."
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