High flyers skew boardroom stats

Government appointments of a small number of high flying women are skewing statistics on female representation in the boardroom says Labour’s Women’s Affairs spokesperson Sue Moroney.

“Figures released by Labour reveal that between 2010- 2012 the number of individual women newly appointed to state sector boards and committees dropped by 103, a sharp decrease.

“Women’s representation on state sector boards has been going backwards as it is, trending from 42% in 2008, to 41.1% in December 2011.

“National has made no ground in increasing representation for women. Now what we are seeing are a few experienced women taking on multiple positions.

“Women, such as ACC Chair Paula Rebstock, former National President Judy Kirk, former Prime Minister Jenny Shipley and former Wellington Mayor Kerry Prendergast are good examples of high achievers, but their numerous positions are actually distorting the statistics.

“Paula Rebstock, for example, has served in 10 different leadership roles on boards, panels and working groups, many simultaneously.

“National's Minister of Women's Affairs Jo Goodhew needs to exert some influence on her colleagues to reverse the trend of the diminishing pool of women they are appointing.

“While filling positions with experienced women makes sense, the overall decrease in individual women serving on boards and committees is a real concern.

“We want to broaden our pool of talent, not become reliant on a few high-achievers.

"National's tendency to replace the old boys network, with the old girls network won't result in the diversity of skills and talents that leads to improved decision-making.

“There is a long way to go before board recruitment is where it needs to be. These statistics are a reminder that we cannot rest on our laurels,” Sue Moroney said.