Tas makes strides on female board membership

Tasmania is on track to achieve 50 per cent representation of women on government boards and committees for the first time in its history, with women now occupying almost half of all positions.

Jane Howlett

Small business minster Jane Howlett says 47.92 per cent, or  437 of the 912 Tasmanian government board and committee positions, are now filled by women.

This is an increase from a year ago when women held 46.4 per cent of positions on all government boards and committees.

That figure represented a 33.8 per cent since 2015, but fell short of the 50 per cent by July 2020 target included in the first Women on Boards Strategy 2015-2020.

Revised targets

Ms Howlett says the latest statistics are in line with targets set out in the new Women on Boards Strategy 2020-2025, which revised the target to 50 per cent representation by July 2022.

The new strategy also aims to increase the representation of women in chairperson positions to 40 per cent by 2025. In June 2020 only 33 per cent of government chairs were women.

“We are on track to achieve 50 per cent representation later this year – the first time this has been achieved in Tasmania’s history,” Ms Howlett said.

Ms Howlett says in 2014 every head of a government agency was a male, and the percentage of women on government boards was in the 20’s. “There was no women’s portfolio, and no women on boards target or strategy,” she said.

Major boards

Victoria is still attempting to meet its 50 per cent target set in 2015 and according to the Victorian Public Sector Commission, the representation of women across government boards is as 39 per cent.

 However, membership of women on major boards in Victoria has gone up from 39 per cent in 2015 to 55 per cent in 2020 after the government determined that all new appointments to major boards had
to be women.

Last September the Queensland government said it had exceeded targets by achieving 54 per cent representation of women on government boards.

According to the federal Office for Women, on December 31 last year women held 49.5 per cent of government board positions, the highest overall result since reporting began in 2009.

Read its latest gender balance report here.

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