BY ALIX RIVALLAND
Changes towards gender equity are creating opportunities for women in top jobs.
The Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency 2010 Census report showed that Australian women hold 8.4 per cent of board directorships and eight per cent of executive key management personnel positions.
The report also showed the percentage of companies with no female executive key management personnel has declined from 65.1 per cent in 2008 to 61.9 per cent in 2010.
Women on Boards chair Ruth Medd said a lot of companies were changing and had recruited more women to their boards this year since the EOWA report was released based on data collected in 2009.
In July the Australian Stock Exchange Corporate Governance Council published 27 recommendations on gender equality in the workplace that prompted these changes.
ASX spokeswoman Leeanne Bland said the companies had to take an ‘if not, why not?’ approach.
“Companies will be required to either adopt the new recommendations or explain in their annual report why they have not done so,” Ms Bland said.
“Although the latest reporting results do not include the most recent initiatives the levels of adoption of the recommendations continue to be high.”
Ms Bland said there was an overall reporting of 93 per cent for all the recommendations.
Earlier this month Forbes Magazine named Westpac chief executive officer Gail Kelly the eighth most powerful woman in the world. Spokeswoman for Ms Kelly and group diversity and flexibility head Rachel Slade said Westpac announced its goal was to improve the representation of women in senior leadership roles from 33 per cent to 40 per cent by 2014.
Ms Slade said the company had established a team to achieve this goal.
“A head of women in leadership has been appointed to ensure an ongoing focus of advancing women in leadership roles and to remove any barriers that may exist for women to maximise their potential,” she said.
Published in the Western Independent October 2010