Media Release by The Hon Julie Collins MP

Scholarship opportunities for ‘board ready’ women

The Minister for the Status of Women, Julie Collins, is inviting Australia’s ‘board ready’ women to apply for Australian Government-backed scholarships aimed at increasing the number of women in the nation’s boardrooms.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors has today called for applications for 70 places in the second round of its Board Diversity Scholarship Program.

Announced by Prime Minister Julia Gillard in June 2012, the Australian Government is providing $225,000 towards this second round of the scholarships, with Company Directors providing a matching contribution.

“This new round of scholarships aims to build on the success of the Board Diversity Program to create change in our nation’s boardrooms,” Ms Collins said.

“Recent Company Directors’ data shows women comprise 14.5 per cent of directors and three per cent of chairpersons in the nation’s top 200 companies.

“These are the highest figures ever – but Australia remains well behind other OECD countries when it comes to women’s participation on corporate boards.

“Australian women are continuing to be excluded from major decision-making roles.

“These scholarships will allow more women to fulfil their potential, providing Australia and the Australian economy with the benefit of their skills and expertise.”

Scholarships recipients undertake the Company Directors Course or Mastering the Boardroom course and receive a one-year AICD membership.

The scholarships are open to all Australian women. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women, culturally and linguistically diverse women, women from rural and regional communities, women with disabilities and women working in the not for profit sector, are particularly encouraged to apply.

“There is strong evidence that organisations with a diverse mix of skills, backgrounds and experience on their boards improve their performance and benefit significantly,” Ms Collins said.

“This initiative complements the Government’s commitment to increase the representation of women on Government Boards through its target of at least 40 per cent women by 2015.

“Women’s representation on Australian Government Boards has risen to an all-time high of 35.3 per cent.

“Change in the composition of boards is achievable but will take a concerted effort by corporate Australia and government,” Ms Collins said.

Applications for the second round of Board Diversity Scholarships close on 11 October.

For more information or to apply for the Scholarship program, visit