Australian Olympic Body Adds Women Board Members in Gender Shift

The Australian Olympic Committee will more than double the female membership of its board to improve the gender balance of its executive.

Former Olympians Kitty Chiller, Danielle Woodward and Nicole Livingstone will join Helen Brownlee and current athlete representative Kim Crow, the only rower to win more than one medal at last year’s London Games, among the 12 elected positions on the AOC’s board next month, the Sydney-based organization said today.

“Women comprise 45 percent of our Summer Olympic team and 50 percent of our Winter Olympic team,” AOC President John Coates said in an e-mailed statement. “In recent times they are winning the bulk of our Olympic medals, it is only right that women therefore have a greater presence on our board.”

The shift echoes similar moves in cricket, rugby union and rugby league to have more women among the decision makers in Australian sports.

Catherine Harris, the chairwoman of Australia’s largest independent fresh produce retailer, was appointed to the inaugural Australian Rugby League Commission last year. The Australian Rugby Union named Ann Sherry, the chief executive officer of cruise ship operator Carnival Australia, as its first female director in July, while former Ericsson Australia managing director Jacquie Hey broke the 107-year male domination of Cricket Australia’s board in October when she became its first female independent director.

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