Central Victorian women to be encouraged to lead at Women on Boards event in Bendigo

Centre for Non-Violence chief executive officer, Margaret Augerinos. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

Centre for Non-Violence chief executive officer, Margaret Augerinos. Picture: GLENN DANIELS

BENDIGO organisations are banding together to encourage women to take on leadership opportunities.

The Centre for Non-Violence, Annie North Women’s Refuge, ARC Justice, Loddon Campaspe Centre for Sexual Assault, and Women’s Health Loddon Mallee are hosting a Women on Boards event.

CNV chief executive officer Margaret Augerinos said the event would provide an opportunity for organisations to establish connections with women interested in governance and board positions.

“This is our third Women on Boards event and each time we have run one, we’ve not only accomplished our goals of welcoming women on boards, but see continued participation and increased interest,” she said.

“The evening is a great way to gain an idea of what Board members and their roles entail and how we can assist you - wherever you are in your boardroom journey.”

The event, on September 25, is inspired by the state’s gender equality strategy

The strategy highlights a range of barriers to gaining leadership positions for women, including unconscious bias, poor recruitment practices, male-dominated industries and poor workplace cultures.

RELATED: Being a woman in the workplace

Almost a quarter of Australian board directors in 2015-16 were women, an increase from 23.6 per cent the year prior.

But the proportion of women leading boards decreased from 14.2 per cent to 12.9 during the same period.

The state government is reporting record female representation on hospital boards, with women constituting 54 per cent of Victorian health service and public hospital service board members.

More than half of the seats on Victorian water corporation boards and Catchment Management Authorities are held by women. 

Haven; Home, Safe chairwoman Sue Clarke said there were many opportunities for women to take on leadership roles in Bendigo and central Victoria. 

The former Bendigo Community Health Services chief executive officer applied for her first board seat about eight years ago, as a way of giving back to the community.

Haven; Home, Safe chairwoman Sue Clarke with board members Warwick Cavanagh and Candy Broad. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

Haven; Home, Safe chairwoman Sue Clarke with board members Warwick Cavanagh and Candy Broad. Picture: CONTRIBUTED

RELATED: Victoria acts on gender inequality

“Within my career, I’d been on the other side of a lot of boards,” Ms Clarke said. 

The long-serving Bendigo Health board member has since gone on to join the boards of Murray Primary Health Network and Ambulance Victoria.

“I think there’s still a very strong glass ceiling,” Ms Clarke said. 

But she encouraged women to consider the opportunities available to pursue their interests.

“We have some fantastic, amazing women out there,” Ms Clarke said. 

“Sometimes it’s a matter of just sitting before them and talking about the opportunity.”

Doors to Women on Boards open at 5.30pm for a 6pm start on September 25.

The event, at the Centre for Non-Violence along Bendigo’s Pall Mall, includes a panel discussion with board members at the participating organisations and networking opportunities.

Registration is free and can be lodged online via the CNV website or by emailing caram@cnv.org.au.

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