Good governance in Aotearoa New Zealand means that women are present in leadership and governance roles at all levels. We know that women have the skills and talents to succeed and lead us into the future. 

We need to identify, support, and grow future generations of women in governance in Aotearoa New Zealand, and encourage them to take the next step into governance roles. 

Research shows that when women and men work together on boards, there is better governance and economic performance results. Governance boards that are more gender diverse consider a wider range of issues and perspectives and generate more innovative solutions. 

One measure of success is the number of women on public sector boards and committees. As at 31 December 2023, we saw women hold 53.9% of public sector boards and committee roles. Women also make up 46.2% of public sector board chairs.

Women also hold 55.9% of senior management roles (Tiers 1 – 3) in the public sector, including 48.8% of Tier 1 roles (as at 30 October 2023). 

However, women are currently under-represented in governance and leadership roles in the private sector, with women holding 31.0% of director positions across NZX-listed companies, including 36.4% of director positions on S&P/NZX50 companies (as at 31 December 2023).

It is also critical that we recognise the contribution of women in the community and voluntary sectors who are not as frequently recognised. 

There are many benefits to having women in governance roles:

  • Diversity of thought: a diverse leadership team will consider a wider range of issues from a variety of perspectives and generate more innovative solutions.
  • Higher education and qualifications: women have higher participation and completion rates in tertiary education compared to men, and they are increasingly out-numbering men in education achievement. 
  • Representation: research shows that the interests of women, children, and families are more likely to be considered by women, which could lead to decisions or policies with better outcomes. 

Nominations Service

Manatū Wāhine has a dedicated Nominations Service that is available to support women to start, or further, their governance career in the public service.  

Our Nominations Service:

  • supports women to start their governance careers and advises women enrolled on our nominations database about vacancies on public sector boards and committees
  • supports public sector agencies with a board vacancy to find high-calibre women candidates
  • works to maintain women’s representation at a minimum of 50% for Minister-appointed roles on public sector boards and communities
  • works to increase the gender and ethnic representation on these boards
  • works with other government agencies and organisations that also provide nominations services to Ministers and government agencies seeking to fill board vacancies
  • undertakes an annual stocktake of gender and ethnic diversity on public sector boards and committees
  • maintains the Leadership Learning Hub, a centralised place showcasing a range of courses and resources to grow your leadership and governance skills in Aotearoa New Zealand.

We encourage women, as appropriate, to also consider joining these agency databases:

Join our nominations database

Do you have the skills for a board position, or is this something you aspire to? Find out about building your governance career.

If you‘re ready to take on a governance role on a public sector board, please join our Nominations Service database.

Join our professional network: Connect on LinkedIn

Follow The Ministry’s LinkedIn page to see our latest resources and opportunities to further your governance career.

Institute of Directors

The Institute of Directors (IoD) is a leading voice on best practice governance, promoting excellence in governance, representing directors' interests, and facilitating their professional development through education and training. It is a commercial membership organisation of over 9,000 people from organisations large and small. 

The IoD runs a Future Directors programme, supported by several Crown Owned Entities, which provides opportunity for people with governance potential to participate on boards. 

Leadership Learning Hub

The Leadership Learning Hub shows a range of courses and resources to grow your leadership and governance skills in Aotearoa New Zealand.

Search through the Hub to find information on available courses and resources, and links to each provider’s website where you can find out more. 

New opportunities will be added to the Hub regularly.