Women’s Affairs Minister Mary Wooldridge today announced the 34 successful recipients of the Victorian Women’s Governance Scholarship program.
The scholarship program is a joint initiative of the Victorian Coalition Government and the Australian Institute of Company Directors to provide 34 women with training in corporate governance through participation in the organisation’s highly respected Company Directors Course.
Ms Wooldridge said the Coalition Government’s $180,000 investment aimed to provide practical tools and experience to Victorian women serving as directors of not-for-profit (NFP) boards that currently receive state government funding.
“This initiative acknowledges the important roles that women play in leading and supporting their communities and will help further develop each of the 34 scholarship recipients’ individual skills, confidence and experience,” Ms Wooldridge said.
“Not only will the women who participate in the program benefit from the scholarships, but so too will their current boards.
“The recipients work in a broad range of areas, including the disability, environment, health and ageing sectors.
“These organisations often rely heavily on the goodwill of the community and on volunteers, so it is vitally important that the people sitting on their boards have the necessary knowledge and expertise to help ensure they run properly.
“The course is highly regarded and will enhance the knowledge and skills of participants, making them better directors in their current roles and preparing them for other directorships in the future,” Ms Wooldridge said.
Company Directors Victorian State Manager Paul Geyer said the scholarships reflected the organisation’s broader commitment to promoting good governance in the NFP sector.
“Almost half of our 31,000 members are involved with NFP organisations, which are traditionally burdened by financial constraints and staffed by volunteers. Their boards are facing increasingly complex organisations, operating environments and stakeholder expectations.
“By providing scholarships for formal director training we are helping to ensure that the organisations' funds are directed back into their core mission to benefit the lives of individuals and communities across Australia,” Mr Geyer said.
Mr Geyer said that the Victorian Women’s Scholarship Program also recognised the value of board diversity for enhancing organisational performance.
“Recent research from the US-based Catalyst group, the Australian Reibey Institute and others have shown that organisations that have a broad mix of skills and backgrounds on their boards and among their executives benefit from improved performance,” Mr Geyer said.
“While women are well represented on NFP boards, it is important that they receive the appropriate training and education to continue their directorship careers.”