Victoria Women in Water initiative achieves gender diversity on water boards

Posted 7 April 2017

Women in WaterWomen now make up more than half of all water board members in Victoria, a feat that has been celebrated at the state's inaugural Women in Water event. 

“It’s inspirational to see the strength and gender diversity in our sector,” said Minister for Water Lisa Neville.

“It was a real privilege to be part of the first Women in Water event … [it] is evidence of the industry’s work on ensuring that women are given the same opportunities as their male counterparts to be leaders in the water sector.”

The initiative aims to provide networking and learning opportunities for women, as well as celebrate their role in the sector. 

The minister pointed to the progress that had been made at board level in recent years. 

“The state’s water plan promotes greater gender diversity and is backed by the Labor Government’s achievement in appointing no less than 50% women to all water corporation boards across Victoria,” read a statement released by the minister's office. 

“Prior to board appointments made in 2015, there were only three female chairs and 52 female board directors.

“Today, women represent 51% of all water board positions.”

However, there is more work to be done at management level, with women holding just 24% of management roles and 21% of executive roles.

When it comes to Catchment Management Authorities (CMA), 52% of board members are women – up from 34% before the last round of appointments in 2015.

The state's water policy document released last year outlined four principle areas for promoting gender equity:

  1. Maintaining a focus on gender diversity on boards; 
  2. Requiring water corporations and CMAs to focus on gender equity in executive leadership positions across the sector, and to develop and implement action plans;
  3. Partnering with the water sector and peak industry bodies to establish a Women in Water Leadership Program to train senior women in the sector; and
  4. Establishing an annual leadership award for women in water.

Women in Water is a collaboration between the five Gippsland based water corporations, including South Gippsland, Westernport, Gippsland, East Gippsland and Southern Rural Water.