Challenging the Glass Ceiling ?

The recently released Report from the Government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) indicates greater representation of women in leadership roles in the five years to July 2018, with representation among Key Management Personnel (KMP) increasing from 26.1% to 30.5%.  Representation of women within both Senior Management and Executive/General Management categories increased by 3.5% over the same period.

Data gathered over the five years indicates that as July 2018, women were “still hitting the glass ceiling at CEO and board level”.  Female board members had increased by 2.7% to 28.1%; female Chairs by 1.7% to 13.7% and female CEOs by 1.4% to 17.1%.

In its Media Release of 30 January 2019, the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD”)  welcomed the trending increases over the past three years of female representation on ASX200 boards and noted that at by the end of 2018, women accounted for 29.7% of all ASX200 board positions.  The AICD noted further that although 45% of all appointments to ASX200 boards in 2018 were women, a target of 30% remains “the floor and not the ceiling for gender diversity”.

At the recent World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos, a report submitted on the future of jobs, adopting a global framework, revealed that the dominance of males in various fields of employment such as information and biotechnology, together with the health and education sectors, was contributing to a reversal in gender equality after recent years of improvement.

A report submitted to the Forum estimated that 57% of the jobs set to be displaced by technology between now and 2026 belong to women.

According to Saadia Zahidi, the WEF’s Head of Education, Gender and Work, this challenges the global efforts to reduce gender inequality in business.

The WEF’s annual Gender Gap Report at the end of 2018 revealed that the gulf between male and female opportunity had widened for the first time since it started gathering data in 2006.  These findings will need to be considered by policy makers, educators and employers carefully in the decade ahead in order to ensure that all nations optimise the contribution potential of their population.