Women's leadership

Our work supports the government’s commitment to increasing women’s representation in leadership position across all fields and sectors.

The Government is committed to achieving gender equality in Australia. Having women in visible, influencing and decision-making leadership positions is key. Evidence tells us when women are in visible decision-making positions and genuinely consulted within these spaces - economies and the whole of society benefits.

That’s why the Government will support women’s representation in all fields of leadership, from boards to community leadership positions to politics and parliaments across Australia.

It is also critical that women in leadership positions represent the diversity of women in Australia.It is not enough however to just have women in leadership positions if they are not representing the diversity of the Australian community. Particularly First Nations women, women with disability and culturally and linguistically diverse women.

The Government is committed to driving progress on women’s representation in leadership across public, private, community and political spheres. For Australia to become a world leader in gender equality, workplace diversity, and access and inclusion, it is everyone’s responsibility to do more.

Business and private sector have a vital role to play in actively lifting the rate of women in visible, influencing and decision-making roles. However, the Government believes the Australian Public Service (APS) should lead the way on setting the standard and driving gender equality.

The Office for Women supports the Government to deliver a range of key actions including:

  • Ensuring the Australian Honours system better reflects the contributions and achievements of Australian women, focusing on the Order of Australia.
  • Improving women’s representation on government boards through setting measurable targets and reporting on these targets. This includes working to boost board representation in portfolios that are lagging and increasing the number of women in Chair and Deputy Chair positions.
  • Maintaining the Boardlinks website to connect Australian women with opportunities to be considered for Australian Government board appointments.
  • Equipping and encouraging more women across the political spectrum to run for public office at local, state and federal levels.
  • Working with the private sector to support more women in to leadership roles. This includes working with ASX companies to boost the representation of women on private boards and as Chief Executive Officers.

The APS has demonstrated that targeted gender equality strategies are an effective way to promote more women into senior leadership positions. In 2023, the proportion of women in senior executive roles had increased to 55 per cent, from only 26.8 per cent in 2001. For the first time, women have reached gender parity at the SES Band 2 level.

The Government is also committed to increasing diversity in the APS, including people with disability and representation of First Nations people to lead the way as a model employer.

Despite the amazing achievements of current and past trailblazers, we know more needs to be done to achieve gender equality and see women occupy all the space they rightfully should. In addition, having women in positions across all levels and sectors of society is vital to driving cultural change.

Gender Balance on Australian Government Boards

On 1 July 2016, The Australian Government committed to a target of women holding 50 per cent of Government board positions in each portfolio, In addition, there was a target for men and women to each hold at least 40 per cent of positions on individual boards.  As of December 2021, this target was achieved.

As part of these commitments, the Office for Women collates an annual report on Government's performance against these targets.

Read the reports at Gender Balance on Australian Government Boards.


The BoardLinks program connects Australian women with opportunities to be considered for Australian Government board appointments. The program features a database used by the Australian Government to source candidates for these appointments.

BoardLinks is available to any Australian identifying as a woman interested in an Australian Government board position. BoardLinks is supported by BoardLinks Champions (business leaders) and has a number of affiliate organisations including the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) and Chief Executive Women (CEW).

The Office for Women manages and maintains the BoardLinks program, which contributes to achieving Government’s targets for gender balance on Government boards.

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Gender balance on Australian Government boards

Gender Balance on Australian Government Boards Report 2022-23

Gender balance on Australian Government boards

Gender Balance on Australian Government Boards Report 2021-22