2023 CEW Census – gender equality is coming but not soon enough

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 a century away.

While the case for gender balanced leadership teams is clear, 91% of ASX300 CEOs are still male.

However, there have been some improvements from last year’s data. 2022 CEW Census data revealed it would take 100 years to achieve gender parity in CEO roles in the ASX200. From 2023 data, it could take up to 50 years to achieve gender parity, with 6 more ASX200 women CEOs than in 2022.

The performance of the ASX100 was a key driver of the improvements on last year’s CEW Census with all companies now having at least 1 woman in their executive leadership teams.

This year, there was also an improvement in the number of ASX100 companies that had no women in CEO pipeline roles. This reduced from around half in 2022 to 27% in 2023.

These statistics illustrate some progress, particularly in larger companies with gender targets in place, however, the pace of change is slow across corporate Australia despite the continued push to increase women’s involvement in leadership positions.

Front and centre at this year’s CEW Leadership Summit will be a call to corporate Australia to accelerate change to deliver gender equality at the highest levels by 2033 because gender equality benefits everyone.
CEW will be calling on Australian companies to set targets with real accountability and transparency. Companies with 40:40 or better gender targets are proven to be three times more likely to achieve gender balance than those without targets.

CEW will also be calling on Australian companies to create CEO and Leadership team pipelines that have an equal representation of men and women.

With eight in ten CEO pipeline roles currently held by men, systems and structures need to be in place to ensure gender balanced leadership, not just now but into the future.

Finally, CEW is asking for ambitious leadership from Australian companies to build inclusive, flexible, and respectful workplaces that foster women leaders.
Companies included in the CEW Census are drawn from the Standard & Poors/ASX300 index as at 3 July 2023.

To read the full Chief Executive Women Senior Executive Census 2023 visit www.cew.org.au