Pipeline To The Top Jobs Still A Pipedream For Women 1

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6th October 2010, 04:00am - Views: 882

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media release

Embargo: 1.00am (AEST) 6 October 2010

EOWA 2010 Australian Census of Women in Leadership

Pipeline to the top jobs still a pipedream for


New research released by the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace

Agency (EOWA) has revealed that the number of women key executive managers

and board directors in the ASX 200 has barely changed over the past eight years. 

The EOWA 2010 Australian Census of Women in Leadership, conducted by

Macquarie University, shows that women hold only 8.4% of board positions and 8%

of Executive Key Management Personnel positions. There are just six female CEOs

and five female chairs in the top 200 Australian companies. 

Even more alarming is that only 4.1% of line roles are occupied by women, those

which are largely considered to be the pipeline to the Executive Key Management

Personnel and CEO roles. There has been no increase in these figures since 2008.

The proportion of companies with no women board directors has increased from

51% in 2008 to 54% in 2010. The proportion of companies with no women

Executive Key Management Personnel has declined slightly to 61.9% from 65.1% in


Compared with New Zealand, UK, Canada, US and South Africa, Australia has the

lowest percentages of women in the most senior positions. 

Only one company, Pacific Brands, has achieved near-equal numbers of men and

women in its senior ranks. Led by CEO Sue Morphet, the company has 50% female

board directors and nearly 43% of female Executive Key Management Personnel.

Spotless Group Ltd and Tabcorp Holdings Ltd are also on the list of top performing

companies that have 25% or more women board directors and Executive Key

Management Personnel. 

EOWA Acting Director, Mairi Steele, says “the EOWA 2010 Census clearly shows

nothing significant has occurred in Australian business culture to address the

systemic inequity that continues to prevent talented and capable women from

contributing at this high level.”

“Faced with EOWA’s eight years of trend data, business leaders cannot continue to

argue that time alone will fix this issue,” Ms Steele said. 

“EOWA welcomes the action taken by businesses in response to the ASX Corporate

Governance Guidelines and encourages others to take their lead. The number of

women taking on board positions this year alone proves that there is no shortage of


“But there is still a long way to go before there is anything resembling equality. The

EOWA 2010 Census draws a line in the sand and we will be measuring the

continuing success of recent initiatives against it,” Ms Steele said.



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media release

Embargo: 1.00am (AEST) 6 October 2010

“With women making up 55% of university graduates and nearly 50% of the

workforce, it is just not acceptable that women are being denied the opportunity to

participate in the decisions that affect the organisations in which they work and the

communities in which they live.”

The business case for more women in leadership has been demonstrated and is

widely accepted.  According to a 2009 McKinsey report², companies with three or

more women in top management out-performed companies with no women

executives on every organisational and financial indicator.

"The lack of women in leadership should be concerning for parents, educators,

politicians and business leaders. Parents should ask themselves, whether they are

content for their daughters to enter a workforce in which they have less chance to

rise to the top and in which they have to work more hours to earn as much as men.

Educators should be questioning the waste of talent and business leaders should

examine the economic cost of ignoring high potential women in the labour market,”

said Mairi Steele.  

Women occupy one third of the total number of board seats in the Materials,

Insurance, Consumer Services, Banks, Software & Diversified Financial industries


Industries with the highest percentage of women Executive Key Management

Personnel are Telecommunications Services, Pharmaceuticals and Retailing.

Automobiles & Components and Consumer Durables & Apparel are the lowest

ranked groups with no Executive Key Management Personnel.

EOWA’s longitudinal study has been measuring the number of female board

directors and senior managers in the ASX 200 since 2002.

The EOWA Census was conducted in partnership with ANZ, Macquarie University and

the US research organisation, Catalyst.


For more information contact

Rebecca Barnes (0411 482 738) Amber Fitzpatrick (0413 4444 62) or Nicole Parsons (0412 505 854)

Complete media kit including details of available talent available at


The EOWA 2010 Australian Women in Leadership Census will be officially released at the 

Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Luncheon with 

Mike Smith, ANZ CEO

and panel members 

Rick Lee, Chairman, Salmat Limited; 

Nancy Fox, MD AMBAC Assurance Corporation; and 

Sandra McPhee, NED, AGL Energy

Date: Wednesday, 6 October 2010

Time: 12.30pm – 2.15pm

Venue: Sheraton on the Park, 161 Elizabeth St, Sydney



Women leaders, a competitive edge in and after crisis, Women Matter 3

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Availability to Comment

EOWA 2010 Australian Census of Women in Leadership

The following people are available to provide comment on the EOWA 2010 Census of Women in


Equal Opportunity for Women

in the Workplace Agency

Mairi Steele

Acting Director

Nicole Parsons

0412 505 854

Macquarie University

Assoc Prof Peter McGraw

Director Labour Management Studies Foundation

Prof Anne Ross Smith, Professor, Management &

Learning & Director of Graduate Studies, Faculty of

Business and Economics

Lyn Danniger

0429 451 421

Naomi Joyce

02 9922 1063

Human Rights Commission

Elizabeth Broderick

Sex Discrimination Commissioner 

Brinsley Marlay

0430 366 529

Diversity Council Australia

Nareen Young


Philip Clark

0427 100 150

Australian Institute of

Company Directors

Rick Lee

AICD Chairman

Steve Burrell

0407 708 485

Women on Boards

Ruth Medd 


Claire Braund 

Executive Director

Ruth 0419 407 231

Chaire 0409 981 781

Bron Wormald

9922 1063

CEOs, Boards Directors & Executive’s


Susie Babani

ANZ Group Managing Director Human Resources



0466 153 272

Austar United


John Porter


Deanne Weir

Group Director, Corporate Development

Emma Rackley

0422 823 000

02 9394 9806


Jillian Segal

Independent Non-Executive Director

Leeanne Bland

02 9227 0410

Macquarie University

Prof Judyth Sachs

Deputy Vice Chancellor & Provost

Pro Vic Gail Whiteford

Pro Vice Chancellor (Social Inclusion)

Lyn Danniger

0429 451 421

Naomi Joyce

02 9922 1063

Pacific Brands


Matthew Horan

0403 934 958


Jo Farnik


Rowan Wilkie

0418 577 956

03 9269 7303


Kerry Willcock

Executive General Manager Corporate & Legal

Nicholas Tzaferis

03 9868 2529


More talent information available at


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