Equality – fact or fantasy?

                            During a conversation on International Women’s Day this year a comment was made that it would be nice for it not to be necessary to celebrate women’s achievements, that if all things were equal it would just be a given that women could and do achieve great things.

While doing some research for a client recently I came across the following facts (they do date back to 2006 but things have not changed that much) which as a mother of 2 daughters (20 & 21) I find very disturbing.

  1. According to a 2005/6 Catalyst Census of Women Board Directors of US Fortune 500 companies women only held 14.7% of board seats (no surprise). Disturbingly though at the current rate of increase it will take 70 years for women to equal the number of men.
  2. Closer to home, a 2006 EOWA Census of Women in Leadership revealed that at the current pace of change towards gender equality it will be approximately 250 years before women will hold 50% of senior management positions.

Just this month Women on Boards reported that:

“More than half of the ASX200 has not complied with the revised ASX corporate governance guidelines on diversity”.

Having mostly worked in male dominated industries and companies I have personally experienced many examples of gender discrimination and harassment and while I never thought I would see much of a change in my career lifespan I had always hoped that things would get better for my daughters. Statistics such as those don’t display much hope that Gen Y females, or even the next, will see much of a change in attitude.

One can only hope the pace of change and diversity acceptance accelerates!

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