Gender parity in Australia

Bain & Company have just released a brief titled “Level the playing field: A call for action on gender parity in Australia”.

The key findings are:

  • Australian men are 1.4 times more likely to believe that gender parity should be a strategic priority than men surveyed in the US and Europe
  • 9 in 10 women and 7 in 10 men believe that gender parity should be a strategic business imperative for their company
  • However, this strong belief has not translated through to a perception that women have equal opportunity to be selected for senior leadership positions
  • Only 1 in 5 women and 1 in 2 men believe that women have equal opportunity to be promoted to senior management positions

In their brief Bain & Company (opens PDF) argue that companies can take three measures to close the gap – and create a stronger talent pipeline:

  1. show a real commitment to gender parity
  2. lower the cultural barriers
  3. have a persistent approach to change management

This is all very well and nicely aspirational. But what are we to make of it, when (as apparently happened recently in Sydney at a women in business event) the male CEO of a large Australian organisation notes that, women do better in the Public Service because they have family friendly work hours and private industry does not.

There is some serious old-fashioned 1970s style consciousness raising that needs to go on at executive and board levels in this country. Surely nobody wants their own daughters and granddaughters to suffer inequitable access in business?

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