Accessing Board Positions: a comparison of female and male board members’ views


*New England Business School, University of New England, Armidale, NSW 2351, Australia. Tel: 02 6773 2304; E-mail:


In Australia, as in many Western industrialised countries, women accessing corporate board positions are still the exception to the rule. This paper reports research exploring men's and women's views on the factors crucial in attaining a board position. While both groups identified the importance of a strong track record, a good understanding of business principles and business contacts in gaining board positions, we found that women also highlighted the importance of high visibility and family contacts to account for their nomination to boards. It seems that women's competence has to be widely acknowledged in the public domain or through family connections before boards, or their nominating committees, will be prepared to “risk” having a woman on the board.