States back more women in business

| February 16, 2018

Female leaders and business owners can nominate to take part in two targeted support programs aimed at enhancing their business through the Queensland Government’s Advancing Women in Business initiative.

The state’s Minister for Employment and Small Business Shannon Fentiman announced that nominations are now open for the Femeconomy Connection Program and the Advancing Women on Boards program.

“The Palaszczuk Government has partnered with Femeconomy and The Advisory Board Centre to deliver these wonderful programs aimed at promoting and supporting women in business to succeed,” Ms Fentiman said. “It’s our plan to give women the tools, support and skills they need to start, grow and employ, and ultimately lead and succeed, in their own organisations.

“Femeconomy will give 10 women across the state, including eight in regional Queensland, the opportunity to take part in a program that focuses on promoting women in business and leadership roles, and encourages women to support other women in business.

The Advancing Women on Boards program concentrates on how to get more women into board and leadership positions.

“By working with The Advisory Board Centre, we will give 20 female business women the skills and knowledge they need to take an active role in business at a boardroom level,” Ms Fentiman said.

“This comes at a time when women are still vastly underrepresented in leadership positions, particularly on management boards, despite being more likely to attain tertiary education. Women’s increased participation in the workplace and leadership roles is better for the economy.”

Femeconomy Directors Alanna Bastin-Byrne and Jade Collins will be providing opportunities for participants to engage and network with influencers and provide media and speaking opportunities.

“We will be profiling these women as a leader or as a business, and assisting them in overcoming hurdles to encourage business and personal growth,” said Ms Bastin-Byrne and Ms Collins. “Companies with more women in leadership are more profitable, offer more flexibility and have a reduced gender pay gap.

“Our Femeconomy Connection Program is designed to empower women through confidence, introduce them to networks, and upskill their business acumen to become leaders in their field.”

The Advisory Board Centre’s Managing Director, Louise Broekman, said that even within her own organisation, only 18 percent of advisors are women. “Female entrepreneurs and executives are often passing up on opportunities because of a perceived lack of skills, experience, networks or influence,” Ms Broekman said.

“To support women in stepping forward, it is important they are equipped with the skills to excel. “Our Advancing Women on Boards Program is for women who own their business or have senior management experience, and who want to increase diversity in the boardroom.

“We are looking for women from diverse backgrounds, industries and locations across Queensland.”

Minister Fentiman said the partnerships are part of the Queensland Government’s Advancing Women in Business initiative, under the $22.7 million Advancing Small Business Queensland Strategy 2016-20.

“Women now make up just over a third of Australian business operators,” Ms Fentiman said. “It is because of this gender-gap that the Queensland Government is investing in women through the Advance Queensland Initiative to help them start and grow small businesses, and importantly to employ.”

“Through programs such as Advancing Women in Business the Palaszczuk Government recognises and appreciates the valuable contribution women in business make to Queensland’s economy, ensuring that they are supported and encouraged.”

Gender diversity makes good business sense

West Australia’s Premier has joined forces with Australia’s senior women leaders to call for greater diversity on government and company boards and committees and is seeking support from the business sector to boost female representation.

Premier Mark McGowan met with senior women leaders at a Chief Executive Women’s forum hosted by Her Excellency the Honourable Kerry Sanderson AC, Governor of Western Australia. The forum brought together a ‘brains trust’ of senior women from the corporate, public service, academic and community sectors to discuss diversity on State Government boards.

The current proportion of women on WA Government boards and committees is 44%, but in the corporate sector the percentage of women on ASX 200 boards is just 26%.

Last September the State Government launched OnBoardWA, a website enabling members of the public to register their interest in sitting on government boards and committees. Since its launch, more than 650 registrations of interest have been received with almost 70 per cent from women.

Addressing the event, Premier McGowan said “The State Government is committed to fairness and achieving gender equality is at the heart of this commitment. Our society is stronger if we take full advantage of the skills and leadership qualities women bring to public life. I would encourage all women interested in sitting on a government board or committee to register with OnBoardWA.”

Women’s Interests Minister Simone McGurk argued that “It’s not only the right thing to do – it’s the smart thing to do. We know diversity makes good business sense and delivers results in the form of better decision making and improved financial performance.

“We have committed to increase the number of women on government boards and committees to 50 per cent. We believe the 50 per cent target is achievable. There is no shortage of capable and talented women willing to serve their community – we can maintain that momentum and achieve the target we have set for ourselves.”