Minister welcomes new Mentoring for Diversity Programme

  • Hekia Parata
Women's Affairs

The Minister of Women’s Affairs, Hekia Parata, congratulates the Institute of Directors on the launch of its inaugural Mentoring for Diversity programme, aimed at increasing the number of women on NZX-listed and large company boards.

“I applaud the Institute of Directors (IoD) for establishing this programme,'' says Ms Parata.

"In a number of cases women often have the skills but are just not sure how to get into governance roles. This programme will really help them.”

The Mentoring for Diversity programme will run from 1 January until 31 December 2012 and is designed to help women gain the skills necessary to achieve board positions.

It will also benefit mentors by putting them in contact with women who have the potential to become directors on NZX-listed and large company boards and enable them to develop a greater understanding of the concerns and aspirations of senior women.

Thirty chairmen and senior directors of major companies will each act as a mentor to one of 30 well qualified women.

The 30 women mentees were chosen from over 130 applicants by a selection panel made up of IoD President Denham Shale, Ministry of Women's Affairs CE Rowena Phair and IoD CEO Ralph Chivers.

Ms Parata says increasing the number of women on boards and in management positions is one of the Government’s priorities.

“A report this year from Investment Bank, Goldman Sachs, says New Zealand could boost its GDP by a further 10 per cent by increasing women’s participation in the economy,’’ says Ms Parata

“It is something Government can play its part in but businesses must take the lead and it's great to see that they are. It was pleasing to see in August the NZX announce they are proposing new rules that will require all publicly listed companies to declare how many women they have in senior roles. I hope more businesses follow suit.

“We need to work together to find ways to increase women’s participation so we don’t miss out on the economic benefits greater diversity and participation brings.’’