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40:40:20 Policy Initiative

What is the 40:40:20 Policy Initiative?

On 8 December 2016, the Premier’s South Australian Women in Sport Taskforce Action Plan was launched to assist sport in South Australia create environments where the contribution of women is valued, respected and encouraged.

Key aims of the plan include addressing the inequalities in participation, leadership and recognition of women in sport. One of strategies identified to facilitate this positive change focuses on having the composition of state sporting organisations boards being a minimum of 40% women, 40% men and the remaining 20% being discretionary.

To assist the Taskforce in achieving its purpose they have recommended that government funding distributed by the Office for Recreation and Sport to state sporting organisations or industry representative bodies be contingent on organisations meeting this target.

There is strong evidence which highlights that gender balance in key decision-making roles increases the performance of boards. Accordingly it is well understood improved governance and decision-making is associated with gender balance in key decision-making roles more broadly.

The Office for Recreation and Sport is committed to facilitating opportunities for organisations to continually develop and monitor their governance structures and practices. The introduction of the 40:40:20 policy initiative is seen as a key component of this focus.

Which organisations are currently involved in the 40:40:20 Policy Initiative?

The organisations currently involved in this initiative have demonstrated their capacity and support to providing opportunities to women to secure leadership roles throughout the industry. The organisations committed to this initiative include:

  • Baseball South Australia
  • Basketball SA
  • Cycling SA
  • Football Federation of South Australia
  • Gymnastics South Australia
  • Hockey SA
  • Netball SA
  • SANFL
  • South Australian Sports Federation
  • SwimmingSA
  • Tennis SA

What action can organisations take?

The purpose of the 40:40:20 Policy Initiative is to facilitate long term cultural change throughout the industry
How each organisation seeks to meet the requirements of the 40:40:20 Policy Initiative may be different, as will the journey and processes undertaken.
Initial actions organisations may take can include:

  • Table the 40:40:20 Policy Initiative as an agenda item at the next board meeting for discussion
  • Develop a working group or utilise an existing sub-committee to lead the work and report to the board
  • Reviewing the organisation’s constitution and consider:
  1. What are the restrictions around board composition and the election process?
  2. Are there other clauses in your constitution that may impact the move towards 40:40:20 board composition?
  3. Is there provision for appointed and independent directors? Are there restrictions around these positions?
  • Review the recruitment methods currently used
  • Undertake a board evaluation process
  • Complete a skills matrix of the current board members to assist in the identification of gaps in skills or competencies that can be addressed in future director appointments
  • Consider timeframes relating to your next AGM and the planning process to align to the 40:40:20 Policy Initiative

Support available

The Office for Recreation and Sport is committed to facilitating opportunities for organisations to continually develop and monitor their governance structures and practices. The opportunity and support available will consist of a range of initiatives including:

  • Industry events for CEOs and Board Members
  • Facilitated workshops
  • Information Resources
  • Online Clips
  • Training and Education Opportunities for current and prospective board members
  • Face to face meetings and support

Frequently Asked Questions

How do we communicate the 40:40:20 Policy Initiative to our members at the AGM?

As Board’s are elected at the AGM by the members, it is important to communicate with them before the election is held.  Members tend to vote for people they know so the goal is to encourage them to change that behaviour and utilise their vote accordingly.

The below statement outlines brief dialogue which organisations may utilise when communicating to their members.

The Board has committed to adopting good practice in the Governance of your organisation.

To achieve that your Board is seeking to be diverse and fully representative of the makeup of our membership.

Your Board has committed itself to achieving a 40:40:20 representative makeup for the composition of the Board and to maintaining that balance going forward.

Having a diverse Board makeup will lead us to more informed decision making and in the medium to long term provide a better sporting environment for our members.

To achieve this your Board has agreed to adopt a pro-active process and we ask that you, the voting membership, consider this in exercising your voting power at this and future Annual General Meetings.

By this we mean, in determining how you vote at this AGM consider fully the information we provide on each candidate and select those who can represent the membership but who also help us meet our broader targets.

The members have not voted for female Board members, what are our options?

Constitutional change may be needed, for example for a board of 9 only 7 would be elected by the members and 2 would be appointed by the Board itself as ‘independents’.  That allows the Board itself to appoint 2 persons of either gender as required to achieve the 40:40:20 target.

We can only vote for people that nominate, females don’t nominate?

This is where the Board needs to be pro-active. Form a nominations committee that identifies and approaches suitable people to encourage them to stand for the Board.  Using a skills matrix the nominations committee can also vet all applications to stand for the Board and recommend those the members should endorse.  Don’t allow nominations from the floor during the AGM, any unfilled positions then become casual vacancies that can be filled by the Board during the year as suitable people are identified.

Premier's Women's Directory

The Premier's Women's Directory is an online database of women wanting to serve on boards and committees. It includes the details of women with a diverse range of backgrounds, experience and interests and is maintained and updated by the Office for Women.

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