A 21st century Australia should be about gender intelligence not just for corporate Australia, but also Australian politics, writes Jamie McIntyre.
The 21st Century Group of companies has been a passionate advocate in supporting women to have more top level management and board level corporate roles. It is even looking at having major companies accredited in gender intelligence.
Even though there has been public support for more women in senior leadership roles, progress over the last 10 years has been sluggish. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, while in 2011-12 women represented close to half of the labour force as a whole (46%), and 45% of professionals, women remain under-represented at senior levels within both the private and public sector.
21st Century as a group of companies has in fact led the way in promoting women to senior management positions with a large majority of managers being female, including our general manager.
The ABS goes on to explain that corporate leadership is an important aspect of governance in Australian society. The business sector drives our economy and provides support to the community. Gender diversity in corporate leadership indicates the level of access and support available for women to take up business leadership roles.
The statistics in corporate Australia are even more concerning. The EOWA 2010 Australian Census of Women in Leadership shows that only 8.4% of Board Directorships are held by women. Further, 54% of ASX 200 companies had no female board directors in 2010 – a number which has steadily increased from 49.7% since 2004.
Alarmingly, the number of female board directors has increased only 0.2% since 2002.
An international comparison of women in leadership raises more concern about the under-representation of women in high-level management roles in Australia, creating a need for reform.
Currently, when compared with New Zealand, the US, Canada and South Africa, Australia has the lowest percentage of women on boards. When compared with the UK, US, Canada and South Africa, Australia has the lowest percentage of executive key management staff personnel, mentions an article in the Australian Human Rights Commission website.
Even economically it is sensible to have more women in leadership roles. According to Goldman Sachs, narrowing the gap between male and female employment rates would have huge implications for the global economy – in Australia it would boost our GDP by 11%…
Excerpted from an article originally published in the Sep/Oct 2013 issue of Think & Grow Rich Inc. magazine. If you are a subscriber to Think & Grow Rich Inc. magazine, you will receive this article in your Sep/Oct 2013 issue of TGR. If you are not a subscriber, click here to subscribe.
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