Women on Boards: Why are there so few? A review of International and Australian developments

Professor Sabina Nielsen, Copenhagen Business School; Michael Coutts-Trotter, NSW Department of Family and Community Services; Susan Price, PricewaterhouseCoopers

12th Sep 2014 12:30pm-2:00pm The University of Sydney

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The presence and role of women on corporate boards is a highly debated topic today. Quotas, targets and other interventions are being implemented or discussed around the world, yet the fundamental question of why only a few women make it to the top still remains unanswered. This talk provides an overview of academic research investigating the drivers and barriers of women's progress in obtaining board positions. Several factors at individual, board, firm and industry level are identified as critical determinants of the presence of women on boards. A review of state-of-the-art international measures is followed by a comparison with the current situation on Australian boards.


Associate Professor Rae Cooper, Deputy Director, Women and Work Research Group


Michael Coutts-Trotter, Secretary, NSW Department of Family and Community Services

Susan Price, Director, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Sydney


When: Friday 12 September 2014, 12:30pm-2:00pm

Where: The University of Sydney

RSVP to by COB Thursday 4 September 2014.

A light lunch will be provided: please notify any dietary requirements when you RSVP


Sabina Nielsen is Professor in Strategic Leadership and Diversity at Copenhagen Business School, Denmark. She received her PhD from University of St. Gallen, Switzerland and was a visiting scholar at the University of Washington, Seattle and the University of Technology Sydney, Australia. Sabina's research is at the intersection of strategy and international management with a particular focus on the composition, dynamics and decision-making of top management teams and boards of directors. Her research has been recognized with several prestigious national and international research awards and is regularly featured in the media. Sabina has published in journals such as Strategic Management Journal, Journal of Management Studies, Journal of Organizational Behavior, Management International Review, Journal of World Business, and Strategic Organization. In 2012, Sabina was invited to the Catalyst CEO Summit in Zurich and was involved in the Australian Census for Women in Leadership. Sabina is currently on sabbatical at University of Sydney, Australia and working on a project investigating the drivers of women in leadership in Australia.

Michael Coutts-Trotter was appointed Director-General (now Secretary) of the NSW Department of Family and Community Services on 29 July 2013. He was appointed Director-General of the newly-created NSW Department of Finance and Services on 4 April 2011. Before that he was the Director-General of the NSW Department of Education and Training for four years. He has also been Director-General of the NSW Department of Commerce and was Chief of Staff to the NSW Treasurer for seven years. Michael is a Fellow of the Institute of Public Administration of Australia NSW (IPAA).

Susan Price is a specialist in employment and diversity law and is currently a Director at PwC, where she works in the People business, heading up the Employment Law team. She has had a long career as a solicitor and prior to PwC had been an partner at Bartier Perry. She is a Committee member of the Women Lawyers Association of New South Wales, and volunteers at the Inner City Legal Centre. She has had a long-standing interest in women in leadership.