WOBSX names next Sydney Syndicate after Marie Coleman AO


Women on Boards has named the next syndicate of its Chair led ASX peer support program, WOBSX, after Australian feminist, social activist, public servant and journalist Marie Coleman AO.


Each WOBSX Syndicate is named after a female who has made a significant contribution to enabling women to lead and succeed across all sectors and to corporate governance in Australia.  Our 2024 Sydney Syndicate has been officially named the Marie Coleman AO syndicate. The syndicate, which will be the 13th WOBSX syndicate following the Ruth Medd syndicate which launched in October 2023, will commence in 2024. 

Marie Coleman AO is an Australian feminist, social activist, public servant and journalist. She was the first woman to head an Australian national statutory authority. She spent over 60 years campaigning against the gender pay gap and other social injustices. Coleman was appointed and held the position of chair of the National Social Welfare Commission by the Whitlam government in 1972 to 1975 – the first woman in Australia to head a national statutory authority.

In 1976, she was selected as the Director of the Office of Childcare, and during this time, the Australian Commonwealth began supporting Aboriginal Child support creating before and after school daycare, and a program for female refugees. In 2001 was inducted into the Victorian Honour Roll of Women. In 2003 Chair of the Advisory Board to the "Hindmarsh Education Centre, at the Quamby Youth Detention Centre, Australian Capital Territory. In 2006 awarded an EDNA Ryan Award for her service to government. In 2011 ACT Senior Australian of the Year for her work as an advocate for women. 

In 2011 Queen's Birthday Honours appointed an Officer of the Order of Australia (AO) "for distinguished service to the advancement of women”, particularly through the National Foundation for Australian Women and the Australian Women's Archives project. In 1989 Coleman was a founding member of the National Foundation for Australian Women and an active participant in the Australian Women's Archives Project.

Following her retirement from the Australian Public Service in 1995, Coleman became a columnist with the Canberra Times until 2003. One of her earliest jobs had been as reporter for the social pages of the Daily Telegraph in Sydney. In 2012 she worked for the Australian Women's Archives Project and for the Social Policy Committee of the National Council for Australian Women.

Marie is 92, she lives in Canberra and is said she is "extremely chuffed" to have a WOBSX Syndicate named after her.


WOBSX is an intensive Chair led peer support program designed to accelerates women into ASX and equivalent board roles.  Since its inception in 2018 WOBSX has graduated 141 women, with 32% achieving at least one ASX or equivalent director role in the private, government and superannuation sectors.  ​Many graduates now have their second and third ASX board roles. 


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WOBSX is a director-led, peer support program to assist women achieve ASX Board roles. The specific aims of the program are for participants to:

  • improve understanding of the role and function of an ASX director;
  • better position themselves for roles in the sector;
  • develop stronger networks with the ASX Director community.

The aspirational goal of the program is that more than 25% of participants will have secured listed company ASX directorships within two years of completion.  The program has been over-subscribed since its launch in 2018. Twelve syndicates have graduated.

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