AICD submission on the National Gender Equality Strategy

Friday, 05 May 2023


On 28 April 2023, the AICD provided a submission to the Department of Prime Minister & Cabinet on the development of a National Gender Equality Strategy (Strategy).

The AICD is committed to gender diversity in leadership as demonstrated by our decade-long work to increase the representation of women on Australian boards. Our submission strongly supported the Government's objective of establishing a Strategy to guide whole of community action towards restoring Australia's leadership on gender equality, enhancing the work of existing state and territory plans.

Our submission focused on key aspects of the Government's discussion paper of relevance to AICD members and the board's governance role, including the under-representation of women in leadership and decision-making, as well as mechanisms to measure progress. Our comments included:

  • Key challenges to achieving gender equal leadership and representation can include pay inequity, occupational segregation (including within organisations), disparities in caring responsibilities, leadership stereotyping, restrictive recruitment practices as well as the prevalence of workplace sexual harassment;
  • Targeted measures involving transparency and accountability mechanisms can support efforts to address these systemic challenges. Government plays a key role in setting such standards.
  • The AICD’s joint campaign with the 30% Club Australia to increase the proportion of women on Australia’s listed boards via reporting company-level data against voluntary targets, without quotas, has demonstrated what is possible with intent and coordinated action amongst a broader ecosystem of leaders, advocates and key organisations.
  • Government’s focus on gathering and engaging with data to inform and measure progress and impact of the Strategy could similarly implement metrics and reporting measures that evaluate the effectiveness of gender equity initiatives, particularly for monitoring women’s progress in the leadership pipeline.
  • The AICD looks forward to supporting the Government's national gender equality strategy by:
    • providing guidance to company directors on standards, principles and better practices to improve outcomes for women in leadership positions;
    • engaging with the director community on the governance aspects of gender equality;
    • partnering with key bodies on targeted initiatives that support a pipeline of women to the boardroom; and
    • engaging with Government on the development of metrics and reporting on women’s advancement into leadership positions.

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