Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Women on Boards

While I'm preparing for our AMG at he local community centre (and it is mostly women I see as volunteers on local management committees), a piece in SMH today about the lack of women on boards.

Parents who send their daughters to all- girl schools may celebrate the higher academic outcomes but they underestimate the importance of networking.

Men network endlessly through school, sport, university and business - partly explaining why they keep promoting their mates and associates to the top positions.

Australia's unhealthy focus on contact sports such as AFL, rugby union and rugby league make the networking challenge for women even harder. There are still five AFL clubs with no women on their boards.

As a nation, Australia is getting a very poor return on those 55 per cent of university graduates who are women, because far too many are dropping out of the corporate race.

How can Australia's big law and accounting firms start off with a majority of female graduates and then finish with barely 10 per cent as partners and less than 5 per cent as managing partners?

One issue for women is a reluctance to self-promote.

Men routinely puff out their chests and exaggerate their performance, whereas women stand back and expect their contribution to be noticed without fanfare. This partly explains the 18 per cent pay gap in Australia between the sexes - women simply need to be more aggressive and negotiate harder when it comes to the next pay rise or promotion.

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