The tertiary education minister is not appointing enough women to the governing boards of universities and polytechnics.
The minister announced yesterday that 12 of 15 reappointments to tertiary education councils are men.
TEU women’s vice-president Cat Pausé says if the minister continues to reappoint mostly men to tertiary education boards, not only will the government never achieve its own limited targets for gender balance, it will never redress the imbalance that already exists.
“The minister’s view of what makes a good council member is too narrow. Councils are missing out on the talents, diversity and perspective that women offer. Councils are also missing out on people with a range of diverse backgrounds and skills.”
The fifteen reappointments included two chief financial officers, four company directors, four chief executives and four corporate or commercial lawyers. Only one appointee has any experience working in a public tertiary education institution.
Pausé says tertiary education councils that support their local communities, staff, students and alumni to elect council members are more diverse and representative than councils that appoint. There is evidence to suggest that diversity leads to better financial performance and improved decision-making.
“Too often people in power appoint people like themselves. They perpetuate the imbalance because they do not accord enough value to people who have different experiences and backgrounds to their own.”