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Why is gender balance important? 

Gender equality is about enabling all people to reach their full potential to contribute to and benefit from economic, social, cultural and political participation. Women's equal participation in high level decision-making roles is an important and visible form of participation.

Evidence from the private sector indicates that gender balance at the board level increases performance through improved governance, decision-making and financial returns.

Through setting a gender balance target of 40:40:20, and supporting Ministers and their portfolios to meet the target, the Government is not only improving the performance of its boards, but also providing leadership to both the public and private sectors on how we view women in the nation's top leadership roles, and the contributions women make to these roles.

Many boards require prior board experience, which is one of the most significant hurdles to improving female representation on boards. Therefore, in addition to the gender balance target, the Government is also committed to appointing women to their first board position. This will ensure that there are more experienced women ready to take up board positions in the broader corporate sector.

There are a range of initiatives to support Ministers and their portfolios to meet the gender balance target. This includes the development of the BoardLinks network to expand the pool of potential candidates for Australian Government boards, to provide mentoring and support for potential candidates, and to facilitate more opportunities for women to be appointed to their first Government board position.