Wednesday, September 07, 2011

More women onto Boards - a good move.

Just how business would channel the 55 per cent of university graduates who were women into career pathways to the senior executive ranks, and boards, demanded a cultural shift.

''We talk a lot about female role models, and they are very important,'' Ms Hewson said.

''But the real key to this would be male role models working flexible hours, taking their share of leaving early to pick up the children two days a week. A male role model at the chief executive or chairman level is incredibly powerful...''

ONE OF Australia's most powerful female company directors, Carolyn Hewson, has a message. If women are to participate fully in corporate life, Australia must embrace the nanny culture.

''We do not have a nanny culture in this country, and it severely hampers us - and I speak here from personal and desperate experience,'' the former investment banker told the Women in Banking and Finance forum.

''In Asia, and in Europe, there's a much more appropriate nanny culture,'' she said.

Getting more women onto boards is a move in the right direction, for a lot of reasons. And it looks like it is happening.

The boardroom blitz was an election commitment of the government. It set a target that by 2015, boards were to have no more than 60 per cent of either gender. In June last year, women comprised 34.5 per cent of members of all government boards...

The increasing demand for female board members has been driven by the Australian Securities Exchange's new gender diversity policy.

The Australian Institute of Company Directors recently reported that this year, women accounted for nearly 30 per cent of new board appointments in ASX 200 companies - a 600 per cent increase on 2009 when they accounted for 7.5 per cent of appointments.

Setting targets. Male executives being seen as parents with care responsibilities. Nannies. We're ready. Lets go.


Melissa said...

Not so sure about the nanny culture being a good thing. Nannies are, in general, over worked and under paid. Looks to me as if more use of nannies is simply one wealthy and educated class of women reaching success on the backs of young and working class women.

Motherhugger said...

Too true. So, the solution? Women on boards are women without children ( so not representing mothers and children)? Or women with children need a stay at home/working part time partner? Even so, a culture shift.
I'm glad there is a plan at the top level. How families manage when the mother is an executive and board member will still be a private arrangement. At least in Australia don't have the problem of hiring illegal immigrants as nannies, or women who leave their own families to work for another.

Melissa said...


The thing I don't like about it is it just shifts the responsibilities to other women, rather than men having to examine their work practices and the culture examining our over-emphasis on financial and career achievement.