Women in Senior Leadership – Still not enough

Whilst significant advances in gender equality continue to be made across Australia, senior leadership remains an area in which women regrettably continue to be in the minority.  

According to data obtained in 2019-2020 by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, women comprise half of the private sector workforce in Australia but remain underrepresented in key decision-making roles across most industries. The figures speak for themselves. Across Australia, women make up only: 

The lack of women in these leadership roles has a considerable impact on the performance and overall success of companies, with research demonstrating that greater diversity at this decision-making level can completely transform the way in which companies think.  

Firstly, new perspectives and improved problem-solving abilities are brought about when more women hold these senior positions. A diverse leadership team can respond more effectively to changes in global markets and shifts in customer needs. In fact, studies have shown that women can be more socially responsible and provide higher quality customer experiences compared to their male colleagues.  

In addition, greater female representation within senior leadership roles has been shown to make companies more open to change and less open to risk. Studies in behavioural psychology have found that humans are incredibly receptive to the attitudes of others, and therefore the appointment of more women to senior leadership roles would result in increased open-mindedness amongst leadership teams. Furthermore, the availability of a diverse range of perspectives during decision-making processes decreases the likelihood of unnecessarily risky decisions being made.  

There is also evidence to suggest a strong association between greater gender diversity within senior leadership and that within the level immediately below. Although this is likely to be a consequence of positive role modelling that encourages women to focus on advancing their careers, it may also be a result of better staff development policies which prioritise diversity and provide various support services. 

When women have a greater presence in senior leadership positions, countless economic and social benefits arise. Here at Open Door, we are committed to achieving gender diversity in these senior career-making roles so that women are given the opportunity to reach their full potential.

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