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Queensland’s Push For More Women on Boards

 

 

Last week Queensland Premier Anastasia Palaszczuk announced that over the next year the Queensland Government are going to have a strong focus on female recruitment, specifically the recruitment of women as leaders.

Ms Palaszczuk plans to build on the actions put in place by former labor Queensland Premier Peter Beattie, who in 2007 launched a ‘women on boards’ website where women interested in board positions could find information on how to apply.

Ms Palaszczuk, along with her deputy and cabinet are planning to start heavily advertising for expressions of interest to build a register of women to fill vacancies as they arise across government bodies.

Currently there are 320 Queensland government bodies, but only 31 per cent of those board positions are filled by women.

This is a key statistic that Ms Palaszcuk says the Queensland Government wish to change in order for the state to have equal gender representation.

“It is time for Queensland to benefit from the wealth of untapped experience, that more female leaders will bring and also for the Government to set a positive example for industry to follow” She said at Parliament House last Thursday.

As of April 2015, 20.4 per cent of ASX 200 boards within Australia are made up of women, while a total of 30 boards within the ASX 200 still do not have any female representatives. However the number of women appointed to ASX 200 boards has increased since 2012;  41 women were appointed in 2012 while 53 women were appointed in 2015. Hopefully this number can continue to grow as the Queensland Government roll out their ‘women on board’ initiative.

To read the full article click here: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/queensland/queensland-premiers-push-for-more-women-on-boards-20150521-gh75ez.html

Boosting Women’s Ambition and Confidence in The Workforce

 

A recent study in the U.S. has revealed that female workers’ confidence and ambition decrease the longer they work in an organisation.

The global consulting company, Bain & Company released the findings on a recent study done on ambition within the workforce. The study asked more than 1,000 men and women in a mix of U.S. companies two questions: “Do you aspire to top management within a large company?” and “Do you have the confidence you can reach top management?”. The results showed a significant difference between women who had just started at a company and those that had been there for two years or more.

Women with two years or less of work experience slightly led men in terms of ambition, based on their positive answers to the two questions above. However, for women who had more than two years on the job, aspiration and confidence plummeted to 60% and nearly 50%, respectively. These declines came independent of marriage and motherhood status. Alternately, the male candidates in comparison experienced much smaller changes and only suffered a 10% dip in confidence overall.

When the same two questions were asked more senior managers, the percentage rose for both genders, but women never regained the level of aspiration that newcomers had. It remained 60% lower than men, whose rates shot up. Furthermore, the percentage of male more-senior managers who were confident that they would reach the top jobs was almost twice the percentage of female managers.

Bain & Company then asked the group a second set of questions: Do you see yourself fitting into the typical stereotypes of success within the company?” and “Have your supervisors been supportive of your career aspirations?” New workers of both genders had similar responses […]

Studies Show Early Human Societies focused on Gender Equality

 

 

 

 

While many argue that the issue of gender inequality and the attitudes of men as ‘breadwinners’ and women as ‘homemakers’ has been ingrained into our culture since the formation of human society, new research has revealed that the earliest societies were likely to have been founded on equal rights and responsibilities for both men and women.

Mark Dyble, an anthropologist from University College London who led the study on the pre-historic communities, said: “There is still this wider perception that hunter-gatherers are more macho or male-dominated. We’d argue it was only with the emergence of agriculture, when people could start to accumulate resources, that inequality emerged.”

The scientists collected genealogical data from two hunter-gatherer groups that originated from the Congo and the Philippines. This data included kinship relations, movement between camps and residence patterns, through hundreds of interviews. In both cases, both genders tended to live in groups of around 20, moving roughly every 10 days and subsisting on hunted game, fish and gathered fruit, vegetables and honey and had equal weight in making decisions for the community.

The authors of the study, argue that sexual equality may have proved an evolutionary advantage for early human societies, as it would have fostered wider-ranging social networks and closer cooperation between unrelated individuals. 

“It gives you a far more expansive social network with a wider choice of mates, so inbreeding would be less of an issue,” said Dyble. “And you come into contact with more people and you can share innovations, which is something that humans do par excellence.”

The study suggests that it was only with the dawn of agriculture, when people were able to accumulate resources for the first time, that an imbalance emerged. “Men were able to start […]

Women leaders within the finance sector can contribute to better and more ethical finance according to reports.

 

 

An increase in female leaders within the finance sector can contribute to better and more ethical finance practices, according to finance expert Christine Lagarde.

International Monetary Fund managing director, Ms Lagarde has called on global financial institutions to appoint more women in leadership roles at the Finance and Society conference in Washington this week.

Currently 42 percent of women across the world lack access to basic financial services, compared with 35 percent of men. Only 20 percent of bank board positions are filled by women and only 3 percent of bank CEO roles are held by women. While in Australia alone, the boards of the country’s banks contain relatively few women. ANZ Banking group has 2 female board of directors of the total 8 directors, Nab had 2 female board of directors out of 11 and Westpac had 2 female board directors out of 8.

Ms Lagarde, a former French finance minister and the first woman to hold the post of finance and economy minister of a G-7 country emphasised the importance of bridging this gap. She argued encouraging greater financial inclusion will have the ability to empower women economically and allow them to invest in further education.

In addition, she claimed female leadership would benefit leading financial institutions. “ Several studies have shown that female leadership is more inclusive” Ms Lagarde argued.

“What would have happened if Lehman Brothers had been Lehman Sisters?” She asked referring to the failed Wall Street bank, Lehman Brothers.

The chair of the US Federal Reserve Janet Yellen, reinforced this statement arguing that inclusive leadership within the financial division has “disproportionately benefited the poor and served to alleviate economic inequality”.

Both women were speaking in response to the findings of the Commission on Banking Standards, […]

Women Still Behind on Career and Pay According to UN

 

 

 

 

The UN have just released a brand new report on the global progress of women, within the workforce and within society as a whole. The results are somewhat sobering.

According to the report which was released this Tuesday, the UN found that worldwide, women earn 24% less than men on average, while they do almost two and a half times the amount of housework.

Women in South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa experience the biggest pay gap, while women in the Middle East and North Africa experience the smallest.

Australia was not immune to these poor statistics, with the report specifically mentioning the fact that Australia’s pay gap has widened between 2000 and 2010.

The report suggested this is partly because women are still over-represented in clerical and support positions. On average worldwide, 63% of women are in clerical and support positions compared to 33% of women in managerial occupations.

Another factor is time, as 39% of employed women worldwide with children under six are the sole carer. Consequently many women cannot invest in the time and energy needed to take on managerial and key-decision making roles while also caring for their family.

Despite these sobering statistics the UN believes gender equality especially within the workforce, is an achievable goal.

Key actions the UN recommend for this to happen is firstly, to properly value female-dominated occupations, including care jobs so that levels of remuneration are commensurate with worker’s skills and the contribution of their work to well-functioning economies and societies more broadly. Secondly, they encourage providing careers advice for young women and encouragement to study science, technology, mathematics and other male dominated subjects. Finally, they heavily encourage governments to provide child allowances to support families with the costs of raising children as […]

Education: A perspective

 

In Australia we are lucky. Education is seen as a necessity and under the Education Act of each state, boys and girls between the ages of 6 and 16 are required to attend school. This act is in place because as a country we are well aware of the benefits of education, not just to the individual and their quality of life but to the greater community.

Despite this, there are still many countries where receiving a formal education is not considered a necessity, especially for young girls. According to the United Nations two thirds of the world’s uneducated children are girls and two-thirds of the world’s illiterate adults are women (United Nations Statistics Division, 2013). This is catastrophic when you take a moment to reflect on what female education can do for the economy. According to leading Goldman Sachs analyst Kathy Matsui, educated women contribute to the quality, size and productivity of the workforce. They can attain better paying jobs, which allows them to provide daily necessities, health care and education to support their family (2013).

In addition to this, recent studies have shown that educated women are better at managing their own and their family’s health issues. For example, educated women are 40% more likely to immunise their own children and this alone helps to drastically reduce infant rates and improve overall demographic structures (Safeena Husain, 2013).

There is also a direct link between education and increasing the number of women in leadership roles within the workforce, as education is an essential pre-requisite to reaching and retaining key leadership and decision-making roles.

A key advocate for female education Safeena Husain, argues that putting more young girls in schools is the most effective way to reduce the gender […]

Is A Vote For Hillary A Vote For Women?

 
Hillary Clinton is running for American president again, sparking the age-old debate regarding the role of women in electoral politics and furthermore what the possibility of having a female president signifies for the future of gender equality, both in America and across the globe.

Being a symbol for gender equality is a heavy burden for Clinton to carry and as some have argued, overshadows her proposed political policies. The Guardian’s Hadley Freeman, argued that “From the flurry of coverage this week about Hilary’s presidential candidacy, the primary focus was on the fact that she is a female.”

Furthermore professor of government at American University and Director of the Women & Politics Institute, Jennifer Lawless argued that the “Minute Clinton announced her candidacy, she became the official litmus test for true gender equality in the United States.”

What both Lawless and Freeman question is what will do more for gender equality: having a female president or a president that is good for women’s rights? Do these things have to be mutually exclusive; is having a female president the key to breaking down barriers to progressive change and gender equality?

It’s definitely something to think about and is explored further in Lawless’s article for the CNN. Read the full article here: http://edition.cnn.com/2015/04/12/opinions/lawless-hillary-clinton-electing-women/

Undeniable that women are ‘good for business’

 

The Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) has set a target for 30% of board seats to be filled by women by the end of 2018, as reported by the Australian Financial Review.

AICD Chief Executive John Brogden has argued that this target is not only the right thing to do in order to promote gender diversity in the workforce, but that it also equates to better business performance: “Numerous research demonstrates a positive link between the level of female representation on boards and improved corporate performance.”

Indeed, the financial company Goldman Sachs agrees with this sentiment, claiming that narrowing the gap between male and female employment in Australia would boost our GDP by 11% (Broderick, Elizabeth. 2010. ’What does a world of gender equality look like?’. https://www.humanrights.gov.au/news/speeches/what-does-world-gender-equality-look-2010)

In order to reach these targets and narrow this gender gap, Brodgen and Nicola Wakefield Evans, a member of Chief Executive Women suggest having available and flexible childcare for women in order to increase female participation in the workforce. They argue that there is a considerable portion of the female population that currently work outside-work hours or part time, in order to look after families. Brodgen argues that offering a tax deductible child care solution would help encourage women back into the workforce and more importantly into leadership roles.

The AICD target is hot on the heels of Melbourne Premier Daniel Andrews’ announcement early last week, regarding his decision to legislate that all public boards must now have a quota of at least 50% of women serving as board members.

To find out more, read the full Financial Review article written by Nassim Khadem: http://www.afr.com/business/australian-institute-of-company-directors-wants-30-women-on-boards-by-2018-20150409-1mh0qt

More balance needed in the boardroom according to the Victorian Premier

 

Premier Daniel Andrews and Wife (Photo Sourced from Paul Jeffers, The Age,  March 28th, 2015)
Premier Daniel Andrews has announced recently that he is concerned about the falling numbers of women on boards in Victoria. Indeed, he is so concerned that he has made a bold move to legislate that all public boards must now have a quota of at least 50% of women serving as board members. The quota will apply to all Victorian courts and all paid Government board positions, including Treasury Corporation, Public Transport Victoria, Melbourne Health and the Country Fire Authority.

“Female representation on major government boards in Victoria has fallen from 40 per cent to a little more than 35 per cent in four years,” he said

“I’m sick of walking into meetings and seeing a room full of blokes sitting around the table,” Mr Andrews said. “It’s not a target, it’s not an aspiration. It’s an assurance.”

He went on to say: “Of all of the appointments my Government makes between now and November 2018, at least one half of them will be women, and I’ll be held accountable for it,” Mr Andrews said. “Under this Government, equity is not negotiable.”

Mr Andrews identified that the low numbers of women on boards is resulting in a lack of balance in terms of skills, a balance of views, a balance of experiences and a balance of knowledge. Certainly it would seem that this fact is valid across all boardrooms in Australia, whether they are  public bodies or private organisations.

Mr Andrews’ aim is for women to make up at least half of all future appointments to paid Victorian government board and court positions. This is vastly different to Victoria’s current climate where female representation on […]

Rwanda Leading The Way In Gender Parity Within Parliament

An article posted in The Guardian this week, citing four African nations within the top 10 countries with the highest number of female politicians leaves a lot to be desired for our western counterparts.

Jane Dudman reported in her most recent Guardian article that Rwanda, Senegal, Seychelles and South Africa are among the top 10 countries with the highest number of women in their parliaments. Rwanda is top on the list, with 64% of its MPs being female. Seychelles is fifth, with 44% of female MPs within its parliament, while Senegal is seventh with 43% of female MPs and South Africa is ninth, with 42% of female MPs.

Furthermore, of the 46 countries where women account for more than a quarter of parliamentarians, 14 are in Africa. Australia do not fare well in this particular set of statistics: within the Pacific region New Zealand was the only country with over 30 percent female MPs in 2015, with 31.4% in it’s lower house. Meanwhile Australia hovers at the 30% mark, which is marked by the United Nations  as the minimum level necessary for women to influence decision making in parliament.

 

According to the Inter-Parlimentary Union which produced these statistics, the increase in female participation within African Parliaments is most likely due to electoral quotas; where specific quotas are set for female candidates within elections. Alternately, many western countries like Australia and the UK do not have these quotas in place.

Looking at these statistics, perhaps it’s time for Australia to start learning from other countries particularly our African nations, on how to improve gender parity within our government and overall within our society.

To read the full article on Rwanda’s political breakthrough click here: http://www.theguardian.com/society/2014/jul/01/lessons-rwanda-female-run-institutions-mps

To see the full report on […]