Gender Balance on Australian Government Boards Report 2014-15

Office for WomenLeadershipGender Balance on Australian Government Boards
Thursday, October 8, 2015
Publication author(s):
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Publication abstract:

The Gender Balance on Australian Government Boards Report (the Report) is prepared annually by the Australian Government Office for Women, and reports against the Government’s commitment of women holding 40 per cent of Australian Government board positions – known as the gender diversity target.

Gender Balance on Australian Government Boards Report 2014-15


A statistical analysis of the Government’s performance against the gender diversity target.

© Commonwealth of Australia 2015

ISBN 978-1-925237-97-9 Gender Balance on Australian Government Boards Report 2014-15 (PDF)
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Gender Balance on Australian Government Boards Report 2014-15


Table of Contents


The Gender Balance on Australian Government Boards Report 2014-15

The Gender Balance on Australian Government Boards Report (the Report) is prepared annually by the Australian Government Office for Women, and reports against the Government’s commitment of women holding 40 per cent of Australian Government board positions – known as the gender diversity target.

This Report provides a point-in-time snapshot of both whole-of-government and individual portfolio performance against the gender diversity target as at 30 June 2015. Statistics on new appointments made throughout the 2014-15 financial year are provided to show how individual portfolios are progressing towards meeting the target. In addition, the Report identifies the number of women across portfolios who hold Chair and Deputy Chair positions.

The Report only includes appointments which the Government is closely involved in selecting or approving. Only appointments over a six month term made or approved by the Prime Minister, Cabinet, Governor-General or a portfolio minister, regardless of the selection method, are included.


Gender Balance on Australian Government Boards - The Figures

Government Results

As at 30 June 2015, women held 39.1 per cent of the 2570 board positions on 361 Australian Government boards and bodies. The number of Government board positions has been further reduced as part of the Smaller Government agenda: from 3206 positions in 2014 to 2570 positions in 2015. This is an overall reduction of 1443 positions since 2013.

Table 1 details the number of boards, and the number and percentage of positions, by gender and portfolio, as at 30 June for the past three years.

Table 1: Gender balance on Australian Government boards

Table 1 shows the number of women and men on Australia Government boards as at 30 June in 2013, 2014 and 2015. In 2015 there were 2570 positions filled by men and women on 361 government boards. The percentage of women on Australian boards has decreased from 2013 to 2015. On 30 June 2013, women comprised 41.7 per cent of appointees on Australian Government boards. This decreased to 39.7 per cent in 2014 and 39.1 per cent in 2015.

Year Number of Boards Number of Positions Number of Women Number of Men % women
2015 361 2570 1005 1565 39.1
2014 387 3206 1272 1934 39.7
2013 460 4039 1685 2354 41.7

Figure 1: Portfolio performance against the gender diversity target

Portfolio Results

As at 30 June 2015, ten portfolios out of 18 met or exceeded the gender diversity target – compared to nine portfolios in 2013-14. Of the eight portfolios that did not reach the target, four are within four percentage points of achieving it.

Table 2: Portfolio results as at 30 June 2015

Table 2 details each portfolio's performance against the gender diversity target as at 30 June 2015. It contains information for each portfolio on the number of boards, the number of positions, the number of women, the number of men and the percentage of women on Government boards. The percentage of women on Government boards appointed by each portfolio is as follows: Agriculture: 33.6 per cent of board positions filled by women. Attorney-General: 44.6 per cent. Communications: 40 per cent. Defence: 39.8 per cent. Education: 37.2 per cent. Employment: 24.1 per cent. Environment: 36.4 per cent. Finance: 42.9 per cent. Foreign Affairs and Trade: 43.6 per cent. Health: 43.9 per cent. Human Services: 66.7 per cent. Immigration and Border Protection: 50 per cent. Industry and Science: 44.2 per cent. Infrastructure: 33.8 per cent. Prime Minister and Cabinet: 40.2 per cent. Social Services: 53.1 per cent. Treasury: 36.4 per cent. Veterans' Affairs: 23.7 per cent. In total, as at 30 June 2015 there were 361 Government boards with 2570 filled positions. A total of 1005 women and 1565 men served in those positions. This means the percentage of women on all Government boards was 39.1 per cent.

Portfolio Number of Boards Number of Positions Number of Women Number of Men % Women
Agriculture 18 119 40 79 33.6
Attorney-General 33 177 79 98 44.6
Communications 7 45 18 27 40.0
Defence 16 93 37 56 39.8
Education 18 113 42 71 37.2
Employment 7 58 14 44 24.1
Environment 27 154 56 98 36.4
Finance 4 28 12 16 42.9
Foreign Affairs and Trade 20 163 71 92 43.6
Health 52 499 219 280 43.9
Human Services 1 6 4 2 66.7
Immigration and Border Protection 2 16 8 8 50.0
Industry and Science 23 113 50 63 44.2
Infrastructure 69 521 176 345 33.8
Prime Minister and Cabinet 13 82 33 49 40.2
Social Services 15 98 52 46 53.1
Treasury 28 209 76 133 36.4
Veterans' Affairs 8 76 18 58 23.7
Total 361 2570 1005 1565 39.1

New Appointments

There was an increase in the number of new appointments made in 2014-15: 914 new appointments compared to 639 in 2013-14. Of the 914 new appointments, 38.4 per cent were of women. This is an improvement of more than two percentage points compared to 2013-14.

New appointments are those appointments made over the 2014-15 financial year that were not reappointments to the same position. Table 3 illustrates the Government’s 2014-15 efforts to increase the number of women on Australian Government boards.

Table 3: Gender balance of 2014-15 new appointments

Table 3 shows the number of new appointments on Australian Government boards in 2014-15. The percentage of new appointees who were women is as follows: Agriculture: 53 new appointments, of which 34 per cent are women. Attorney-General: 68 new appointments, of which 38.2 per cent are women. Communications: 13 new appointments, of which 38.5 per cent are women. Defence: 35 new appointments, of which 40 per cent are women. Education: 79 new appointments, of which 38 per cent are women. Employment: 13 new appointments, of which 23.1 per cent are women. Environment: 78 new appointments, of which 33.3 per cent are women. Finance: 8 new appointments, of which 50 per cent are women. Foreign Affairs and Trade: 69 new appointments, of which 50.7 per cent are women. Health: 100 new appointments, of which 32 per cent are women. Human Services: 1 new appointment, who is a woman. Immigration and Border Protection: 3 new appointments, of which 66.7 per cent are women. Industry and Science: 46 new appointments, of which 39.1 per cent are women. Infrastructure: 198 new appointments, of which 33.3 per cent are women. Prime Minister and Cabinet: 39 new appointments, of which 41 per cent are women. Social Services: 48 new appointments, of which 62.5 per cent are women. Treasury: 50 new appointments, of which 40 per cent are women. Veterans' Affairs: 13 new appointments, of which 38.5 per cent are women. In total, in 2014-15 there were 914 new appointments to Australian Government boards. A total of 351 women and 563 men were appointed. This means the percentage of women who were new appointees to Government boards was 38.4 per cent.

Portfolio New Appointments Number of Women Number of Men % Women
Agriculture 53 18 35 34.0
Attorney-General 68 26 42 38.2
Communications 13 5 8 38.5
Defence 35 14 21 40.0
Education 79 30 49 38.0
Employment 13 3 10 23.1
Environment 78 26 52 33.3
Finance 8 4 4 50.0
Foreign Affairs and Trade 69 35 34 50.7
Health 100 32 68 32.0
Human Services 1 1 0 100
Immigration and Border Protection 3 2 1 66.7
Industry and Science 46 18 28 39.1
Infrastructure 198 66 132 33.3
Prime Minister and Cabinet 39 16 23 41.0
Social Services 48 30 18 62.5
Treasury 50 20 30 40.0
Veterans’ Affairs 13 5 8 38.5
Total 914 351 563 38.4

Chair and Deputy Chair Roles

As the most senior board roles, the Chair and Deputy Chair roles are crucial to the functioning of every board. Table 4 details the number of Deputy and Deputy Chair positions, and the percentage of these positions held by women as at 30 June for 2014 and 2015. These figures reflect Chair and Deputy Chair positions that were occupied as at 30 June each year.

This data excludes Chief Executive Officer, Executive Director or Managing Director positions.

Table 4: Gender balance of Chair and Deputy Chair roles

Table 4 shows the number of women and men appointed in 2014 and 2015 to chair and deputy chair positions. The number of women appointed to these positions has decreased slightly from 30.8 per cent in 2014 to 30.1 per cent in 2015. In 2015, there were 409 chair and deputy chair positions, of which 123 positions were filled by women and 286 by men. In 2014, there were 455 chair and deputy chair positions, of which 140 positions were filled by women and 315 by men.

Year* Total Chair/Deputy Chair Positions Number of Women Number of Men % Women
2015 409 123 286 30.1
2014 455 140 315 30.8
2013 537 167 370 31.1


Appendix

Gender Balance on Australian Government Boards Report 2014-15 - Guidelines

The Guidelines for the Report establish the parameters for the boards and appointments included in the Gender Balance on Australian Government Boards Report 2014-2015.

Boards that are within the scope of the Report are as follows:

  • bodies covered by the Public Governance, Performance and Accountability Act 2013;
  • ministerial advisory committees;
  • review committees where the appointments are made by a minister or Cabinet; and
  • Commonwealth statutory authorities.

Within this subset of boards, only appointments having some level of input or sign-off from particular representatives of the Government are included, that is:

  • the Prime Minister;
  • one or more Australian Government ministers;
  • the Governor-General in Council; and
  • Cabinet.

The Report excludes appointments that are:

  • ex-officio;
  • to a Commonwealth Court or Tribunal, or to a quasi-judicial body;
  • formally elected with no formal Government approval;
  • nominated by a third party with no formal Government approval;
  • appointed by an organisation without Government involvement;
  • nominated by a State or Territory Government without Commonwealth Government approval; or
  • nominated by a government of another country without Commonwealth Government approval.

Those appointments included in the Report and used to calculate performance against the gender diversity target are those that were occupied as at 30 June 2015.

Employees engaged under the Public Service Act 1999 are not included.

Boards comprising only one person are not included.

New appointments are appointments made over the 2014-15 period which fulfil all of the criteria above but do not require the successful candidate to be working in the role at 30 June 2015.

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