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CEW engages directly with government and business to advocate for evidence-based policies which support women leaders, for the benefit of everyone in Australia. We contribute to policy formulation and partner with employers to attract, promote and retain talented women leaders. Our membership of over 1000 prominent women leaders are sought after for insights on how to improve the representation of women in all facets of leadership in Australia.


CEW makes informed contributions to the national debate on gender balance. One of CEW’s most important achievements has been to cut through the myths surrounding women in leadership with hard data.

CEW Advocacy and Research:

The CEW Senior Executive Census is collected annually in partnership with Bain & Company, from data available on company websites and in annual reports.

Data on the executive leadership teams for the companies in the CEW Senior Executive Census was collected in July 2022 from company websites, including Annual Reports and media releases.

This methodology has been in place since the CEW Senior Executive Census began in 2017.


CEW, Bain & Company: Take It from the Top: Accelerating Women’s Representation in Executive Leadership is a deep dive into how Australia’s leading organisations foster gender balance on their executive teams, released in July 2022. Organisations that commit to genderbalance targets are almost 3 times more likely to achieve gender-balanced leadership teams. Nearly 60% of ASX300 companies have committed to gender-balance targets. Bain & Company and Chief Executive Women (CEW) interviewed 22 Australian companies that are outperforming the ASX300 average for their gender-balanced leadership teams.

5 accelerators that increase women’s representation in executive leadership are:

1. Committed and accountable Executives
2. Commitments must translate into actions
3. Targeted talent management unlocks equal opportunities.
4. Succession plans must be deliberate and long term.
5. Recruiting must be equitable.


CEW and Impacts Economics and Policy’s report released in 2022 illustrates how we can address the Australian economy’s current and future skills needs and gaps. The gaps can be closed between the number of men and women employed, and also the number of working hours they undertake. Closing the chronic wage gap between men and women, represents a significant opportunity for the Australian economy by contributing an additional 1 million full time workers with post school qualifications.


CEW delivers a leading research, policy and advocacy agenda which is evidence-based, grounded in member engagement, and is aligned with our vision for women and men to have equal economic and social choices and responsibilities. CEW’s four policy pillars are:

1. Advancing women’s leadership
2. Enabling women’s workforce participation,
3. Strengthening women’s economic security including into retirement
4. Workplace flexibility for women and men.

These four critical issues are the foundation of our policy
strategy which aims to achieve gender equality and maximise Australia’s talent pool in pursuit of a thriving economy.

In 2021, Australia was shocked and disappointed by stories of sexual harassment in workplaces around the country.

Respect is Everyone’s Business is a digital hub with tools and resources to help leaders take action at decision-making tables and in our workplaces.

While many organisations have made positive progress in responding to and preventing sexual harassment, it was clear that it remains a widespread and persistent issue.

Respect is Everyone’s Business equips leaders with the facts, scripts and resources they need to start a conversation and ensure this issue remains firmly on the agenda.


CEW advocates for change in key priority areas to achieve our vision of a society where women and men have equal economic and social choice and responsibilities. We are presenting the case for change by reviewing the current status of women in Australia in leadership, economic security, workforce participation and workplace flexibility. CEW is working to remove the barriers to women’s progression and ensure equal opportunity for prosperity.


This report is written by Chief Executive Women (CEW) in conjunction with Boston Consulting Group (BCG), to highlight key actions to advance talented women in leadership roles in STEM sectors, accordingly to women who are leading the way. Although there are systemic barriers for women’s progression to leadership, reinforced as women in STEM are repeatedly saying “all men get the cool jobs” yet the women are missing out.

Ultimately, CEW reiterates how women must play a powerful role in developing STEM industries in the Australian economy.



CEW welcomes the findings of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s (WGEA) Scorecard, which has found that the average total remuneration gender pay gap has dropped to 21.7 per cent in 2023 from 22.8 per cent in 2022.  It is the second biggest single year drop since WGEA started collecting employer data in 2014, however, on...
CEW welcomes and supports the Productivity Commission’s Report into Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) and takes this opportunity to welcome the new Productivity Commission Chair and CEW member Danielle Wood to this important role. CEW supports the key recommendations of the report, namely: Building towards universal, free or low-cost access for all children to...
Today we released our seventh annual Chief Executive Women Senior Executive Census which tracks the annual progress of women’s representation in the senior leadership teams of Australia’s top companies. Latest data shows that women remain undeniably underrepresented in leadership teams across Australia’s top businesses and gender parity at the top is still at least half...
CEW welcomes significant Federal Budget to enable women’s economic participation and support the most vulnerable women across the economy Chief Executive Women (CEW) welcomes the Federal Budget and Women’s Budget Statement as an impactful Budget for women, with crucial measures to enable women’s participation in the economy, while supporting vulnerable women who are most impacted...
Chief Executive Women (CEW) welcomes the passing of the Workplace Gender Equality Amendment (Closing the Gender Pay Gap) Bill 2023, a vital step forward to enable women and to advance gender equality in Australian workplaces.   CEW Policy and Engagement Committee Chair Pauline Vamos said: “CEW welcomes this important reform, which will improve transparency and...
CEW Annual Dinner: Speech by Natasha Stott Despoja AO Good evening, everyone. I begin by acknowledging the traditional owners the Gadigal pe­­­ople of the Eora Nation. I pay my respects to their elders past and present and emerging, and to any other elders from other communities who may be present or listening today. The Gadigal People...
When it comes to addressing inequality, don’t underestimate the power of leading by example, Full Stop Australia CEO Hayley Foster says. Speaking in conversation with Ann Burns on the first episode of Chief Executive Women’s new podcast, Driving the Equality Agenda, Foster underlined the importance of modelling the type of behaviour that will build a...
New data from Workplace Gender Equality Agency released today shows that progress on closing the workplace gender pay gap has stalled. Women are on average earning $26,600 less than men. The WGEA 2021-22 Employer Census also found: ❌ Just 22% of CEOs are women. ❌ Men are more likely to hold managerial positions, even in...
The Chief Executive Women Leadership Summit, hosted on Tuesday, 6 September 2022, brought leaders together for an uncensored conversation about what can be done to break through the malaise and achieve gender equality for the benefit of all in Australia. In a day of inspiring discussion and keynote speeches, attendees were left empowered to drive...
Chief Executive Women welcomes the Albanese Government’s Federal Budget and Women’s Budget Statement, which recognise that gender equality is at the heart of Australia’s future prosperity and resilience. CEW supports investments in measures to address cost of living pressures and enable women’s workforce participation, economic contribution, health and safety. READ MORE