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Gender balance shifts on Australian Olympic Committee Executive

Gender balance shifts on Australian Olympic Committee Executive
April 5, 2013

The appointment of three women to the Executive Board of the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) represents a massive shift in the gender balance in the running of the Olympic Movement in Australia.

Former female Olympians Kitty Chiller (modern pentathlon), Danielle Woodward (canoe-kayak) and Nicole Livingstone (swimming) will be added to the AOC Board after its Annual General Meeting next month, join Helen Brownlee (canoe-kayak) and Kim Crow (rowing) and holding five of the 12 elected positions on the AOC Board.

AOC President John Coates, has long been an advocate of greater gender diversity on the AOC Board, stating "women comprise 45% of our Summer Olympic Team and 50% of our Winter Olympic Team, and 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 new candidates are three outstanding women, on and off the field of play, and I am looking forward to working closely with them in the future. They have much to offer".

Kitty Chiller competed at the Sydney 2000 Games and has remained very much involved in sport. She has been the President of Modern Pentathlon Australia since 2009 and was Deputy Chef de Mission of the Australian Olympic Team at the 2012 London Olympic Games.

Danielle Woodward is a triple Olympian, 1992, 1996 and 2000, winning a silver medal in Barcelona in 1992. Danielle is President and Chair of Australian Canoeing and a federal agent for the Australian Federal Police having worked for the United Nations in East Timor in 2002 and 2003.

Nicole Livingstone is also a three-time Olympian, 1988, 1992 and 1996, winning silver and two bronze medals.

Out of the pool she established herself as a leading television host and broadcaster and recently became a member of the Swimming Australia Board. Nominations for the election on the 5th May closed yesterday (4th April) with Coates set to be elected unopposed, marking his 23rd year as AOC President.

With only seven nominations have been received for the seven Board positions, the election of Chiller, Woodward and Livingstone will be a formality at the AGM

The AGM will also see Brownlee will move up to become the AOC's first-ever female Vice-President joining Peter Montgomery. They will also be elected unopposed.

The elected AOC Board will comprise:

John Coates - President
Peter Montgomery - Vice President
Helen Brownlee - Vice President
Russell Withers
Ian Chesterman
Nick Green
Andrew Plympton
Kitty Chiller
Nicole Livingstone
Danielle Woodward
Kim Crow
James Tomkins

In addition, International Olympic Committee member, Kevan Gosper, remains a voting ex-officio member until his retirement from the IOC at the end of the year. AOC Secretary-General, Craig Phillips, continues as an appointed non-voting member of the Board.

Federal Sport Minister Kate Lundy has welcomed the AOC's gender shift, stating that it was important that organisations like the AOC lead the cause in addressing the gender imbalance that has been an issue in sport and sporting boards for a long time.

Senator Lundy explained "women provide the bulk of our Olympic medals, so it is fitting they are better represented on the board of the AOC.

"These women have all been elite sporting performers and forged successful careers away from the sporting field.

"There are many other women who have done the same and I will continue to encourage all sports to recruit the many qualified and determined women to provide strong, strategic leadership for Australian sport."

Senator Lundy said the Australian Government remained committed to achieving its target of 40% of women sitting on government boards by 2015.

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