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Govt wants more women on private sector boards

18 September 2006

Govt wants more women on private sector boards

To mark Suffrage Day, Minister of Women’s Affairs Lianne Dalziel is highlighting three new initiatives by the private sector that aim to see women better represented at board level.

“While the state sector is well on its way to achieving the government’s target of equal representation on state sector boards, women’s representation on private sector boards is much lower, at around seven percent for the top 100 NZX listed companies, " Lianne Dalziel said.

"It's great to see the private sector rising to the public sector challenge by taking steps to address the gender imbalance in New Zealand company boardrooms."

Three new databases are being established to make it easier for private sector companies to find women with the skills and experience necessary for board roles.

Professional director and businessman, Sandy Maier and Jens Mueller of Waikato University's Management School are building a web-based service for matching director candidates with organisations searching for new board talent.

The Auckland Chamber of Commerce (Chief Executive Michael Barnett), in partnership with the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust (Executive Director, Philippa Reed), is developing a web-based brokerage service to connect suitably qualified women with small to medium enterprises seeking new board members.

A third internet-based initiative, Real Contacts for Directors, is being set up by Rosanne Hawarden, Managing Director of Computer Support Enzed Ltd and Syspro New Zealand Ltd.

Lianne Dalziel said research showed that diversity in board membership and company management added value, so private sector efforts to put women onto boards would benefit everyone.

The Ministry of Women's Affairs Nominations Service, which has played a key role in getting women onto public sector boards, will publicise the databases, referring women to them and establishing information links to the databases from the MWA website, Lianne Dalziel said.

The Nominations Service will also be able to inform women on its database about private sector board opportunities.

Lianne Dalziel said she had no doubt that private companies would benefit from the skills, knowledge and experience women could offer.

“I can think of no better way to celebrate the memory of the suffragists who fought to gain women the vote than to support those who seek to ensure women’s voices are heard in the boardroom as well as in the House.”

Suffrage Day, Tuesday 19 September 2006, is the 113th anniversary of New Zealand becoming the first country in the world to grant women the vote.

ENDS

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