Victoria Leads the Nation in Female CEOs

When it comes to women making it to top leadership roles in local councils, Victoria is leading the nation.

When it comes to women making it to top leadership roles in local councils, Victoria is leading the nation.  

In the past three years, the number of female Chief Executive Officers leading Victorian #localcouncils has doubled.  One third of the 79 councils are now led by a female CEO, including interim and acting roles (26 women and 53 men). 

The rise in female CEOs is up from 14% in the 2000s, to 16% in 2017 to 33% in August this year.  

Compare this to the national average for #LocalGovernment of just 11% of council CEOs and general managers being women and only 6% of CEOs in ASX 200 companies are women. 

What is Victoria doing right? A few things

  1. There are more women councillors making the decision to recruit a female CEO (38%), which means more, talented female CEOs are being employed
  2. Leadership and advocacy for gender equality by the female CEOs and Presidents of the three peak bodies in Victorian local government, MAV, VLGA and LGPro 
  3. A strong pipeline of talented women coming through council management teams 
  4. Advice for Councillors on how to lift gender equality at all levels of councils from Local Government Victoria’s Best Practice Guidelines for Gender Equality (which I authored in 2018, along with a comprehensive Research Companion)

When employing CEOs the Best Practice Guidelines encourage Councillors to consider steps such as:

  • Develop inclusive job advertisements
  • Work with recruitment agencies who are committed to gender equality and can source gender balanced short lists
  • Balanced selection panels of Councillors
  • Oversight by an independent chair 
  • Grow the talent pipeline within the organisation so women leaders can step up into CEO roles

Progress on gender equality can be precarious, especially in politics. But this milestone, is one to be celebrated.

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