More diversity through female voices at every level of leadership will deliver better decisions and more equitable outcomes for AustraliaWomen are significantly under-represented in decision making in Australia. Despite women graduating from university in record numbers and in greater numbers than men, the representation of women falls by approximately 10 percentage points at each step on the management ladder. Looking to the highest levels of decision making in this country, the current Government Ministry only has 6 women.
In 2017, CEW began its annual ASX200 Senior Executive Census to measure progress in the private sector. The Census focuses on female representation in ‘line’ and ‘function’ roles within executive leadership teams. The 2018 Census found a modest increase in the representation of women in the leadership team (23%, 430 women). Many of these senior women were in functional roles, which typically don’t lead to CEO roles. While progress is being made on ASX200 company boards, where in July 2018, 28.2% of board members were women, only 7% of CEOs of ASX200 companies are women.
Chief Executive Women supports and calls for interventions to increase representation of women in all facets of leadership in Australia. Through collaborative work with policy makers and respected organisations such as Bain & Co, Boston Consulting Group, Spencer Stuart, Australian Institute of Company Directors and Male Champions of Change we aim to bring greater awareness and urgency to these issues. CEW also works directly with organisations to bring about better gender balance within their workplaces.
The COVID-19 crisis is highlighting the importance of traditionally considered feminine leadership qualities, such as empathy, compassion and truthfulness. Despite this, there is a lack of women’s representation in decision-making bodies and response teams.
Given emerging evidence demonstrating differential impacts of COVID-19 on women and girls, gender analysis and involving women leaders and diversity experts is important to mitigate adverse impacts and deliver more effective responses.