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Glass ceiling fails to break for Australian women: EOWA

Women have made no significant gains in their representation among ASX 200 companies or in key executive positions over the last eight years according to new research by the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA).

EOWA CensusThe EOWA 2010 Australian Census of Women in Leadership, conducted by Macquarie University, shows that women hold only 8.4 percent of board positions and 8 percent of Executive Key Management Personnel positions. Among ASX 200 companies there are only six female CEOs and five female chairs.

The number of women in executive positions is likely to decrease rather than increase in the future, with only 4.1 percent of line roles are occupied by women, with line roles largely considered the pipeline to the Executive Key Management Personnel and CEO roles.

Australian women in senior positions lag New Zealand, UK, Canada, US and South Africa, suggesting an alarming need for action in Australia to rectify the gender imbalance.

Pacific Brands is the standout among the ASX 200, with near-equal numbers of men and women in its senior ranks. Sue Morphet, Pacific Brands’ CEO has lead the initiative to take the company to 50 percent female board directors and nearly 43 percent of female Executive Key Management Personnel. Spotless Group Ltd and Tabcorp Holdings Ltd are also on the list of top performing companies that have 25 percent or more women board directors and Executive Key Management Personnel.

EOWA Acting Director, Mairi Steele, believes that time alone will not address this problem and that more needs to be done to change Australian corporate culture.

“the EOWA 2010 Census clearly shows nothing significant has occurred in Australian business culture to address the systemic inequity that continues to prevent talented and capable women from contributing at this high level.”

“Faced with EOWA’s eight years of trend data, business leaders cannot continue to argue that time alone will fix this issue,” Ms Steele said.

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David Olsen

David Olsen

An undercover economist and a not so undercover geek. Politics, business and psychology nerd and anti-bandwagon jumper. Can be found on Twitter: <a href="http://www.twitter.com/DDsD">David Olsen - DDsD</a>

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