Senior Partnerships Adviser
New data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics today reveals women are dramatically underrepresented in leadership positions across business and public life, despite high levels of education.
The ABS Gender Indicators series includes data from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s world-leading data set for the first time, showing stark imbalance between women and men at senior levels of the workforce.
Today’s release shows that men outnumber women:
- In organisational leadership roles: 82.7% of CEOs of non-public sector organisations are men
- In parliament: 69.5% of federal parliamentarians are men
- On government boards: 60.3% of members of Commonwealth boards and bodies are men
- On the bench: 65.4% of Commonwealth judges and magistrates are men
- In public recognition: 75% of recipients of Companion or Officer of the Order of Australia are men
At the same time, the data shows higher levels of educational engagement and achievement among women than men; including 34.2% of women aged 18-24 enrolled in a bachelor degree or above, compared with 25% of men.
Workplace Gender Equality Agency Acting Director Louise McSorley said the consistent underrepresentation of senior women reveals that deep cultural change is needed at the highest levels of our organisations and public institutions.
“Australian women are highly educated, but are being held back in the workplace and in public life,” said Ms McSorley.
“We are failing to translate women’s education into workforce participation. This is a real waste of human potential and a drag on our national productivity.”
The WGEA data, which is also presented in an interactive format online, illustrates that the leadership pipeline is still not working for women. All nineteen industry divisions show a decline in the representation of women from the Key Management Personnel to CEO level.
Gender equality should be at the heart of the economic reform debate, said Ms McSorley.
“Increasing women’s workforce participation is critical to driving economic growth. We need an honest discussion about the barriers to women’s engagement with work and commitments to taking the necessary action to drive change.
“We need to move beyond a simplistic focus on women on boards and look at increasing women in the leadership pipeline. This is where real change will happen.”
The Male Champions of Change have released a series of videos today outlining key issues in workplace promoting gender equality, including setting gender equality targets.