Women from culturally diverse backgrounds recognised with inaugural governance scholarships

Monday, 21 September 2015

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and the Minister for Women, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, have announced the recipients of 55 scholarships for talented women who identify as Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander, or who come from a culturally and linguistically diverse background.

The new scholarships are the final to be awarded in the third round of the joint Board Scholarship Diversity Program offered by the Federal Government and the AICD.

“Our joint scholarship program is crucial to our efforts to increase the diversity of Australian boards by giving exceptional females the opportunity to undertake education that will improve their credentials”, said John Brogden, the AICD’s Managing Director & Chief Executive Officer.

“The Federal government’s generous contribution of more than $1 million has for the first time enabled us to offer dedicated scholarships to women from rural areas, those in male-dominated industries and now to those from culturally-diverse backgrounds.

“We recently called on all companies to increase the proportion of women on their boards to 30 per cent and will continue to advocate for greater board diversity in gender, culture, thought and experience,” said Mr Brogden.

A total of 195 scholarships were granted in this round of the Board Scholarship Diversity Program, which is more than double the number awarded in each of the two previous rounds. Recipients will be eligible to complete either the Foundations of Directorship program or the Company Directors Course offered by the AICD.

Both courses have been completed by the directors of many successful organisations, including listed companies, private business and not-for-profit organisations. The flagship Company Directors Course is now in its 40th year.

Since the launch of the Board Diversity Scholarship Program in 2010, there has been an encouraging increase in women on the boards of Australia’s largest companies. Monthly statistics compiled by the AICD show that women comprised 20.6 per cent of the directors on S&P/ASX 200 boards at 31 August, 2015, versus 8.3 per cent in 2009.

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