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5 tips (and loads of links) to help you score a seat at the table as Women on Government Boards hits record high of 35.7 per cent

Last week The Hon Julie Collins MP, the Minister for Women, released the latest report on Gender Balance on Australian Government Boards.  The report – though it took its time in making it’s way into the public arena – is an update on the progress all the federal Government boards and bodies are making towards the target of 40% female representation that was introduced by the Gillard Government.  It shows that at 30 June 2011, the percentage of women on Australian Government boards was at 35.3 per cent – an all time high – and eleven portfolios increased the number of women they appointed to Australian Government boards and bodies. So what can you do to ride the wave onto a Government Board?

1. Are you “board ready”?  Before going any further it’s a good idea to determine whether you have the skills, experience and suitability for a government board – the Government has prepeared a good checklist which you can access here.

2.  If you believe you’ve got what it takes, you can submit your CV to be considered for future vacancies.  You also need to complete an AppointWomen Candidate Details Form which you can download here in PDF  or RTF format.

3.  You can also target those portfolios with the greatest need for gender balance alignment by visiting their websites and watching out for vacancies.  So far only four portfolios have met or exceeded the 40% gender balance target:

    • Attorney-General’s (50.7% women)
    • Families, Housing, Community Service and Indigenous Affairs (50.4%)
    • Immigration and Citizenship (50.0%)
    • Prime Minister and Cabinet (40.3%)

The remaining portfolios all have a ways to go and so if you have skills in any of these areas, it could be time to be on the hunt for opportunities:

    • Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry (36.0% women)
    • Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (35.6%)
    • Climate Change and Energy Efficiency (33.3%)
    • Defence (26.9%)
    • Education, Employment and Workplace Relations (36.9%)
    • Finance and Deregulation(31.1%)
    • Foreign Affairs and Trade(36.8%)
    • Health and Ageing (38.2%)
    • Human Services (33.3%)
    • Infrastructure and Transport (28.1%)
    • Innovation, Industry, Science and Research (24.8%)
    • Prime Minister and Cabinet (40.3%)
    • Resources, Energy and Tourism (27.3%) 
    • Sustainability, Environment, Water, Population and Communities (29.5%)
    • Treasury (27.9%)

(Note: you can download the full report and details on Porftolio composition here)

4. Apart from the Federal boards, there are frequently opportunities on State Government bodies and authorities.  Here are some links you can follow to your relevant State vacancy registers:

Note: I was unable to find a centralized service in NT and the ACT – if anyone has suggestions on this I’d love to hear from you!

5. There are other organisations that can help you identify appropriate board vacancies for your skill set, including:

As a final thought, it’s worthwhile considering what you can do to make yourself an attractive target for these Boards.  What expertise can you offer and how can you position yourself to be the person they think of when a role becomes available?  Of course there are official processes involved in Government Board appointments, but there’s also the opportunity to build a public profile that creates a demand for “Brand You”.

Is this helpful?  Do you have any tips you can share?  Or even better, if you’ve made your way onto a Government board already I’d love to hear what worked for you!



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