Chief Executive Women

Chief Executive Women (CEW)’s 800 members hold leading roles in Australia’s largest private and public organisations. They oversee more than 1.3 million employees and A$749 billion (US$536 billion) in revenue. Members’ organisations have a combined market capitalisation greater than A$1.1 trillion and contribute in excess of A$249 billion to Australia’s GDP.

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Since 1985, CEW has influenced and engaged all levels of Australian business and government to achieve gender balance. Through advocacy, research, targeted programmes and scholarships, CEW helps remove the barriers to women’s progression and ensure equal opportunity for prosperity. CEW members work actively to realise its vision of a community where women and men have equal economic and social choices and responsibilities.

The CEW leaders programme is designed to equip women to fulfil their leadership potential, providing them opportunities to take their place alongside men so organisations can deliver the best possible outcome for customers, shareholders and the community. CEW’s scholarship programme enables and supports the ongoing development of women leaders. Together with its partners, CEW offers senior executive women the opportunity to attend leadership courses at leading international business schools.


CEW’s shared mission is “women leaders enabling other women leaders”. Its four areas of priority are:

• Women’s leadership: to advocate for gender balance in leadership that benefits women, business and the entire community.
• Economic security: to strengthen women’s economic security across their working life and into retirement.
• Flexible work: for men and women to have equal access to flexible working.
• Women’s workplace participation and caring responsibilities: to enable more women’s workforce participation through accessible, affordable, quality childcare.


CEW was founded in 1985 as a branch of the Paris-based organisation, Women Chiefs of Enterprise – with a passion to get a fairer deal for women leaders. CEW also provided a haven for women seeking to share their experiences as pioneers in the boardrooms and C-suites of Australia. The membership has become a rich environment of learning and energy, with an agenda to drive the expansion of women leaders in Australia.


CEW has an unwavering focus on including the most senior women in Australia as members regardless of where they live, their mode of employment (executive or nonexecutive) and the type of organisation they lead (not-for-profit, public or private sector). Membership is offered to women who meet the CEW membership criteria and remains open to them throughout their lifetime. Women must be endorsed by a current member and fulfil a selection criterion based on their leadership sphere.

Industry partners

CEW works in partnership with organisations that make generous donations in the form of skill, time and thought leadership. This generosity has resulted in powerful research and insights into women’s representation in leadership and gender equality, and has enabled CEW to make meaningful contributions to the public discourse.


CEW’s annual dinner is one of the most prestigious events in Australia’s corporate calendar. It is attended by CEOs and their management teams from across the country. The dinner is CEW’s most important fundraising event. Funds are used directly to support the scholarships and programmes run by CEW to enable more women leaders in Australia.

Board members

CEW is governed by a board comprising the president, treasurer, committee chairs and state chapter representatives. The president is elected by the board every two years.

Partners and sponsors

Thought Leadership Partner: ANZ
Research partner: Bain & Company

Annual dinner sponsors

Platinum sponsor: King & Wood Mallesons
Gold sponsors: ANZ, BHP, KPMG, NAB, QBE, Salesforce, Telstra
Silver sponsors: Allens, AMP, Ashurst, BCG, CBA, Charter Hall, CyberCX, Deloitte, Egon Zehnder, EY, Gilbert + Tobin, Goldman Sachs, Harvey Norman, Heidrick & Struggles, IAG, JP Morgan, Lendlease, Macquarie, Microsoft, Mirvac, Qantas, RRA, Spencer Stuart, Suncorp, Telstra, Wesfarmers, Westpac.
‘In kind’ support: Endeavour Drinks

Official airline sponsor: Qantas
Premises Partner: LendLease
2021 CEW Scholarship Award Partners: ANZ, Bonnie Boezeman AO, Keith Kerridge, The Roberta Sykes Indigenous Education Foundation, Southern Cross University.