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New IoD Programme Aims to Increase Number of Women on Boards

New IoD Programme Aims to Increase Number of Women on Boards

The Institute of Directors (IoD) launches its inaugural Mentoring for Diversity programme, aimed at increasing the number of women on NZX-listed and large company boards, in Wellington tonight.

The programme will run from 1 January until 31 December 2012. Thirty chairmen and senior directors of major companies will each act as a mentor to one of 30 well qualified women.

The programme is designed to help the women mentees gain the skills necessary to achieve board positions. It will also benefit mentors by putting them in contact with women who have the potential to become directors on NZX-listed and large company boards and enable them to develop a greater understanding of the concerns and aspirations of senior women.

In launching the programme, IoD President Denham Shale said that research has shown that diversity “should bring a new dynamic to the boardroom with a different range of skill sets and perspectives which should ultimately lead to better governance and better company performance."

“The IoD is committed to promoting diversity in the boardroom, not just in terms of gender diversity but also in age, ethnicity and background. Companies that embrace the principle of diversity and put it into practice invariably derive a comparative business advantage,” he said.

According to the Human Rights Commission, women hold only 9.32% of directorships in New Zealand’s listed companies.

The 30 women mentees were chosen from over 130 applicants by a selection panel made up of IoD President Denham Shale, Ministry of Women’s Affairs CE Rowena Phair and IoD CEO Ralph Chivers.

“We are very impressed by the response to the programme. The applicants were of a very high calibre, making the selection process extremely challenging," said Mr Shale.

He said that the women mentees are already highly successful women who are looking to the IoD’s Mentoring for Diversity programme for guidance on how they might better network, position and present themselves to achieve NZX-listed or large company board positions.

“It is also gratifying to see senior directors and chairmen devoting time and commitment to addressing the gender imbalance at the top tables. Change will begin at the top and our mentors have seized the opportunity to “put something back” into the profession,” he said. “The commitment from our mentors is a crucial element in making this programme a success.”

The IoD is committed to assisting directors develop their skills at all stages of their career through its Director Development Programme and its nationwide Aspiring Director Awards which is aimed at increasing the pool of emerging director talent. In addition, it encourages all directors to strive for the highest standards of practice through its Principles of Best Practice for New Zealand Directors and its recently launched Practice Notes.

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