Media Release by The Hon Kate Ellis MP

Applications open for board scholarship program for women

Minister for the Status of Women, Kate Ellis has called on Australian women to apply for a new scholarship program aimed at increasing the number of women on boards.

Applications opened today for the Board Diversity Scholarship Program, a $400,000 election commitment from the Australian Government, which is jointly funded with the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD).

The program will offer more than 70 scholarships to board-ready women to assist them to attend the AICD’s highly regarded Company Directors course or Mastering the Boardroom course. Participating women will also receive a one-year membership of the AICD.

“The Scholarship Program will help prepare talented women to join the boards of companies, community groups and Government organisations,” Ms Ellis said.

“It will allow more women to fulfil their potential and give the country the benefit of their leadership.”

The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace’s Census of Women in Leadership shows that only 8.4 per cent of board directorships and 8 per cent of Executive Key Management Personnel positions in the ASX 200 are held by women.

“While more recent data from the AICD shows that there have been some slight improvements during 2010, Australian women are continuing to be shut out of our most senior corporate boardrooms,” Ms Ellis said.

“This board scholarship program is aimed at getting more Australian women – who already have the skills, abilities and experience to be strong contributors – onto our corporate boards.”

Applications for the Scholarship Program are being sought from suitably qualified women from various backgrounds from all around Australia. Scholarship recipients will be selected by a committee of representatives of the AICD and the Australian Government’s Office for Women.

This initiative complements the Australian Government commitment to the increased representation of women on Government Boards. The Government has committed to a 40:40:20 membership ratio on Australian Government Boards by 2015.

Applications close on 12 November 2010. For more information on applying for the scholarships, visit the Australian Institute of Company Directors website.