According to the United Nation’s Department of Economic and Social Affairs, women make up nearly half of the world’s population of 7 billion people. In many countries, such as Australia, The United States, Mexico, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, The United Kingdom and most of Europe, females actually outnumber the males. With such a large population of women in the world, it’s only natural to assume that an equally large number of women must occupy positions of power and leadership in the world. Sadly, the statistics say otherwise.

According to the latest study conducted by the Official Board, more women than ever are cracking the proverbial glass ceiling and achieving executive leadership roles. The number of women achieving leadership positions in their companies has grown at a rate of 1.8% in the last 18 months alone.

Despite this growth, a sharp gender imbalance remains.

Women still only occupy a mere 18% of all senior management positions at companies with annual revenues over $100 million dollars. When one looks at the top positions of Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the disparity is even sharper, with women chairing only 6% of boards, and making up only 9% of all CEO positions. If societies around the world are serious about increasing gender equality one must ask, where are all the women?

According to the same study, more women are reaching the level of Vice President (VP) in their companies. Currently, women occupy 44% of all VPs of Communication positions, 35% of VPs of Investor Relations, 31% of VP of Customer Relations, 29% of Marketing VPs and 26% of all VPs of Accounting. The study also found that the following industries have more women in leadership roles: legal services, marketing research, entertainment, cosmetics, luxury goods, and publishing.

While there is some modest growth in the number of women in leadership roles, achieving a balance of gender in the leadership roles in our companies and our world will not occur without a change in attitudes and practices in our company boardrooms.

When asked why there aren’t more women in leadership roles in their company, both male and female executives across all industries have responded that there is great difficulty in finding qualified women to promote into the highest levels of leadership. Finding a solution to this issue may be as simple as changing some of our corporate attitudes and practices.

One potential solution to achieving greater gender balance in the leadership of a company would be to seek out qualified female leaders from other industries. An additional solution would be for boards to develop a strategy to actively seek to identify women with leadership potential within their organization and then proactively groom them for future leadership.

While these solutions may or may not work, one thing is certain; unless large scale change occurs, gender imbalance on our boards and in the leadership of the world will continue and have a negative impact on the lives of both men and women.

Phone 1300 719 665 or +61 424 447 616

www.soniamcdonald.com.au

sonia@soniamcdonald.com.au

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