Issue No. 50 - December/ /
Women lead together
by Dr David Corkindale and Dr David Corkindale
There is always a strong level of debate around the topic of the value of “women’s only” leadership programs. Some argue that such programs do little to change the overall systemic issues that prevent women from seeking and obtaining executive level roles. However, there is mounting evidence that such programs have significant value in supporting women to achieve their goals (whether they be career progression or simply career satisfaction).
A recent review of the number of women in board positions in ASX 200 companies found that there had been little improvement in the level of female participation over the past five years despite significant attention being directed to this issue.
Australia has one of the poorest track records of female participation in “C” suite positions with only 8.3% of ASX200 companies having female representation on their board and only 5.9% of their senior executives being women.
More critically, Australia lags behind other industrial nations in terms of representation of women on boards. With these results it appears that there is no one simple answer or solution.
The reasons for this staggering inequity are not clear. Recent research indicates that there is a “labyrinth” of reasons. These can include women opting out of applying for executive positions (presumably due to the perceived demands of these roles), organisational barriers (e.g. lack of flexible work arrangements) and fewer executive level connections and networks that are often so necessary to securing executive leadership roles (particularly board positions).
There are many strategies available to help women achieve executive and board positions. Gender-specific leadership development programs have been highly successful particularly in Europe. Increasingly this approach is being used in Australia with strong results.
For the last two years, Locher Human Resources and the Leaders Institute of South Australia have facili...