‘Quotas work’: Victorian government crows women surpassing parity on boards


Three years after switching from an ‘aspirational’ target to a mandatory quota, women now outnumber men across on Victorian government boards. In the critical Treasury portfolio, women now have parity with men in chair positions.

In 2015 the Victorian government switched from an aspirational target to a mandatory quota that no less than 50% of its board appointments would be filled by women. In practice that meant 52% of all new appointments between March 2015 and June 2018 were women.

In the process the overall representation of women in government boards rose from 39% to 53%.

Treasurer Tim Pallas says it’s had a particular impact in his portfolio. Women now make up 63% of government board positions and 50% of chair positions in the Victorian Treasury portfolio. “We’ve acted to ensure women have a seat at the table and are part of the decision making for Victoria’s key economic and finance institutions,” Pallas said.

Quotas remain a controversial approach, and the debate over targets or quotas seemingly never ends.

Victoria’s Minister for Women, Natalie Hutchins, thinks it still matters, saying without an equal representation, attitudes and behaviours that see men as worth more than women won’t change.

“Quotas work – and our progress on women’s board leadership is a clear indicator of that.”

READ MORE: Merit: the next frontier for gender equity?

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