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New push for more women in SA public sector executive roles

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The proportion of women in executive positions in the South Australian public service has reached a record high but is still some way off parity with men, sparking a new move to nurture the next generation of female public sector leaders.

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The state’s Commissioner for Public Sector Employment, Erma Ranieri, used International Women’s Day to announce a new mentoring program, in which she’ll take a personal hand.

Ranieri said more work needs to be done to eliminate barriers to women reaching senior positions in the public sector.

The proportion of women in South Australian Executive Service (SAES) positions is now at 39.83 per cent – an increase of 2.76 per cent from 2015. The broader public sector – including statutory bodies and the like – fares better, with a record 47.03 per cent of executive positions being taken by women in 2015-16.

To try and boost the numbers, Ranieri will mentor 10 women over a year, starting in June, under the new Commissioner’s Women’s Mentoring Program.

The program will provide support with career planning, expanding professional networks, professional development, and giving participants a greater understanding of business areas across the public sector.

Candidates for the mentoring program must have held a public sector position for the past 12 months, be in a leadership role or be an aspiring leader.

“I’m am proud to say that women are being given more leadership opportunities within the South Australian public sector, however there is still much that needs to be done to break down barriers to women’s success,” Ranieri said.

“As Commissioner for Public Sector Employment, I have the opportunity to make a difference and address the systemic issues that exist for women within the public sector. This mentoring program is a step towards that goal.

“Validating the experiences and barriers that are faced by emerging and aspiring women leaders and building their capacity to navigate those barriers will be a positive experience – for both them and me.”

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