Footnote(s): (a) The ASX200 is an index that tracks the top 200 companies (based on their market capitalisation) listed on the Australian Stock Exchange.
Source(s): Commonwealth Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA), Australian Census of Women in leadership, 2002-2008
WOMEN IN LEADERSHIP
Corporate leadership is an important aspect of governance in Australian society. This is because the business sector drives our economy, influences policy, and provides leadership and support in the community. Gender diversity in corporate leadership indicates equity in one area of leadership and governance, as well as the level of access and support available for women to take up business leadership roles.
The Australian Government Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) collects information on women in executive management and board director positions by conducting a census of Australia's top 200 companies listed on the Australian Stock Exchange (ASX200). In 2008, 11% of ASX200 company executive managers were women, a decline from 12% in 2006, but an increase from 8% in 2002. In 2008, 55% of companies employed at least one female executive manager, an increase from 47% in 2002.
The progress evident in the increasing proportion of companies employing female executive managers has not been replicated for female board directors. The proportion of ASX200 board directors who were women was 8% in both 2002 and 2008, although this had risen to 9% in 2006. In 2008, 51% of ASX200 companies did not have any female board directors. In 2008, the resources boom led to a change in the industry mix of the ASX200, with increased representation of male-dominated industries, which may have contributed to the 2008 result (EOWA 2002-2008).
Women are represented in a range of other leadership and decision-making positions across Australian society. For example, in August 2010 almost a quarter (23%) of Australian ambassadors and heads of diplomatic missions were women (DFAT 2010). In May 2010, 50% of the members of the inaugural national executive of the new National Congress of Australia's First Peoples were Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander women (NCAFP 2010). In 2009, over one-third (37%) of senior executives in the Australian Government Public Service were women, and 33% of members on Australian Government controlled boards and bodies were women (OFW 2009).
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