Tailored guidance on the recruitment and selection of women for Victorian Government boards.

The Victorian Government’s Women on Boards commitment was first introduced in March 2015, and its scope was subsequently expanded in 2018.

The commitment was refreshed in 2021 and currently requires that:

  • for boards and portfolios that have less than 50% women, no less than 50% of all future appointments must be women
  • for boards and portfolios that have at least 50% women, appointments must continue to result in least 50% women on boards.

The refreshed Women on Boards commitment applies to Victorian courts and all boards, except for the following:

  • statutory offices or officers
  • small Crown land committees of management
  • unpaid cemetery trusts
  • school councils.

As part of the Women on Boards commitment, and as noted in the Appointment and Remuneration Guidelines, it is mandatory for departments to consult with the Office for Women, Department of Families, Fairness and Housing (DFFH), when appointing new board members. Consultations allow the Office for Women and departments to ensure that steps to support gender diversity are undertaken as part of board appointments.

Key considerations

Review the gender composition of the board. During the planning and recruitment process of future appointments, aim for a balanced gender composition on the board following the proposed appointments and have a strategy to increase the representation of women if there is less than 50% women on the board.

Include gender diversity on your board skills matrix to ensure that there is a transparent record of the board’s gender diversity.

Use open and competitive recruitment whenever possible. In recruitment materials and position descriptions, use gender inclusive language and avoid language that assumes the gender of candidates, as this can suggest bias against women applicants.

Provide flexible working arrangements. Victorian women undertake nearly twice the amount of unpaid work and care than Victorian men, making it more difficult to remain in the workforce. To encourage more women to apply for the role it is recommended that advertisements note flexible arrangements that are applicable to the role, (e.g. meeting times, online meetings).

Engage a gender diverse assessment and interview panel. Assemble a gender diverse group of people to review applications, shortlist applicants and conduct interviews, to minimise bias or avoid the perception of bias.

Provide and request feedback on the appointment process. Offer feedback to unsuccessful candidates, particularly shortlisted candidates, on their applications and interviews. This will support potential women candidates who may currently be unsuitable for a given board role to develop their skills and knowledge in preparation for other or future vacancies.

The Office for Women can be contacted at womenonboards@dffh.vic.gov.au.