The Australian Institute of Superannuation Trustees (AIST) and Women in Super (WIS) have announced the recipients of the Super Springboard scholarships.
A joint initiative of AIST and WIS, Super Springboard is a 12-month program for women interested in becoming directors of superannuation funds. It offers a comprehensive training program, mentoring and networking opportunities.
AIST President and Chair of Women in Super, Cate Wood, said the successful scholarship recipients brought a diverse set of skills, experience and backgrounds to the program.
"Interest in the program was high and it was particularly pleasing to see such a diverse range of applicants," said Ms Wood.
Among the successful recipients were women in senior roles from superannuation funds, investments/funds management, law, industrial relations, social and women's studies, accounting, shipping, commerce and industry.
Ms Wood said priority for the 10 scholarship places had been given to those women who had the support of a super fund with low female participation at board level and therefore had a very a high chance of being appointed to a board in the near future.
"It's important to fast track women into these roles as the evidence increasingly shows that greater diversity leads to a more effective and efficient board," said Ms Wood. "Not only does diversity transform the decision-making processes of the board, but it leads to better financial performance and sustainability."
"Improving gender diversity on super fund boards will also help to drive and shape industry policy – especially in terms of assisting women to close the gender gap in retirement savings."
Last week, the Australian Bureau of Statistics released the latest Gender Indicators, Australia report, which showed women were still under-represented in leadership positions across many industries.
"The super industry has been leading corporate Australia for some time now in terms of the percentage of female board members, although women make up only around 21 per cent of directors on super fund boards. Super Springboard will help the industry achieve better gender diversity and encourage funds to appoint females to these roles," Ms Wood said.
Super Springboard includes a variety of specialist training, including AIST's Trustee Director Course, and participants will be allocated a dedicated mentor. Participants will also attend the Conference of Major Superannuation (CMSF) in 2014, and receive complimentary places at Women in Super events, as well as complimentary membership of both AIST and Women in Super.
The ten scholarship recipients are:
- Susie Alison
- Elly Grace
- Denise Campbell –Burns
- Jacqueline Jennings
- Tanya Debkhapouve
- Emma McQueen
- Lisa Darmanin
- Leah York
- Karen Volpato
- Anne Donnellan