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What is gender diversity and why implement 40:40:20?

The Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing is committed to assisting organisations to provide environments where the contribution of women is valued, respected and encouraged by addressing the inequalities of women involved in sport.

To effect change, the 40:40:20 initiative has been implemented to shape the composition of state sport and recreation organisation boards. A board that meets 40:40:20 would have a minimum of 40% women, 40% men and the remaining 20% is discretionary.

There is strong evidence which highlights that gender balance in key decision-making roles increases the performance of boards. It is also well understood that improved governance and decision making is associated with gender balance in key decision-making roles more broadly.

The starting point is a desire for the organisation’s culture to be one of transparency, inclusiveness and diversity. This can only happen if the board and ultimately the membership:

  • Accepts this is the way forward for the organisation.
  • Adopts the appropriate processes and policies.
  • Communicates these to the whole organisation.
  • Backs it up with actions that reinforce the culture.

Which organisations does the 40:40:20 target apply to?

Organisations currently receiving the Office for Recreation, Sport and Racing’s, Sport and Recreation Sustainability Funding are expected to have met the 40:40:20 target by 30 June 2021.

Organisations in receipt of State Sector Program funding must continue to adhere to the State Government’s policy target on a governing body board of a minimum 40% women, 40% men and 20% being discretionary.

What action can organisations take?

How each organisation seeks to meet the requirements of 40:40:20 may vary, as will the journey and processes undertaken. Actions organisations may take can include:

  • Table the 40:40:20 Policy Initiative as an agenda item at the next board meeting for discussion.

  • Form a working group or utilise an existing sub-committee to lead the work and report to the board.

  • Review the organisation’s constitution by asking:

    • Are there any restrictions around board composition and the election process in place?
    • Are there other clauses in your constitution that may impact the move towards a 40:40:20 board composition?
    • Is there provision for appointed and independent directors? Are there restrictions around these positions?
  • Review the recruitment methods currently used for new board members.

  • Undertake a board evaluation process to determine the effectiveness of the board.

  • Complete a skills matrix of the current board members to assist in the identification of gaps in skills or competencies that can be addressed in future director appointments.

  • Consider timeframes relating to your next AGM and the planning process to align to the 40:40:20 initiative.

Additional resources and links