Increasing number of women on boards pleasing

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Dr Jackie Blue

Wellington, May 8, 2017

The Human Rights Commission has welcomed newly released data that shows the highest ever percentage of women on state sector boards and committees.

The 2016 Ministry for Women Gender Stocktake of State Sector Boards and Committees Report shows the number of women ministerial appointments was 45.3%, as at December 31, 2016.

This is an increase from 43.4% for the year ending December 2015, and the greatest annual increase since the data started being collected in 2004.

Ministers should be congratulated for being focused on improving the gender balance and that the focus should now be on hitting the original 50% target and collecting data around ethnic diversity as well.

Target reached

When last year’s data was released, I said I was confident that we would be able to reach the Government’s 45% target by the end of 2017. To have exceeded that figure at the end of 2016 is a fantastic result.

I would like to see the target of having 50% women ministerial appointments reinstated and deliberate affirmative action taken to place women in these roles, as and when they become available, to ensure we meet that goal.

Ethnic diversity

To support ethnic diversity on our boards as well, I would like to see that the gender Stocktake is broadened to include ethnicity data.

There is growing evidence that shows the value that diversity and balance can add when making board decisions in both the public and private sector. It is vital that we build upon these results and widen the scope of the data to ensure that our state sector boards reflect the communities they represent.

Dr Jackie Blue is Equal Employment Opportunities Commissioner at the Human Rights Commission based in Wellington.

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