Title of resolution:
"Increasing gender equality and representation of women in leadership roles."
Wording of resolution:
VIEW advocates more equitable representation of women in leadership positions, and calls for the Commonwealth government to:
a. establish legislation requiring that, within two years, 50% of the membership of all Boards and advisory bodies should be women; and
b. to analyse and report every two years on the representation of women in leadership roles.
Women are under-represented in leadership and decision making roles in Australia. Statistics from the Equal Opportunity in the Workplace Agency (EOWA) reveal a worsening downward trend from 2006. The number of women in all ASX200 leadership and senior management positions has declined from 2006 to 2009. Women make up half of the workforce and 60% of Australian university graduates are women. There is vast scope for improvement.Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick recently said “the importance of gender equality in senior business decision-making should not be undervalued. Everyday, boards and corporate decision makers are influencing our lives – from the decisions that are made about the products we consume,to how we care for our families and what services we can access --- so it is imperative that this sort of decision making has equal representation from both genders”.
Outline of the issue:
The reporting requirements of EOWA have delivered some benefits to working women, but inequality and under-representation still exists and the situation is deteriorating. Women on Boards has called for ASX200 companies to achieve a minimum of 25% female directors by 2012, or it would advocate the introduction of mandatory quotas. Women on Boards released the “Boardroom Diversity Index” in March 2010 to track key performance indicators on gender diversity in ASX200 companies. Currently, there is no legislation to enforce compliance. Barriers still exist within organizations; some are entrenched in work practices and organisational cultures that impede career progression for women. It is clearly time to re-visit the EOWA legislation and its requirements as proposed by the Minister. Soft options, have failed to deliver change. Without substantial change to legislative requirements for both public and private organisations, the decline of the numbers of women in senior management and leadership positions will accelerate as these bodies argue that nothing further needs to be done. Legislation is required to kick start the change. The implications of quotas or legislation requiring compliance is being debated in the community now to ensure a gender balance in Board composition and it is clear we have reached a point where stricter measures need to be considered to effect real change.
As women we need to work towards and ensure a future where our children’s and grandchildren’s choices and/or ambitions in regard to work and family will not be dictated by their gender; creating a future where men and women are equally represented in all forums of leadership, influence and decision making.
· This issue supports VIEW’s Vision, Mission, Purpose and Guiding Principles and would provide good traction for profiling the Voice of VIEW in the media.
· This issue is a hot topic on the women’s agenda being pursued by the government funded Women’s Alliances, which VIEW (as a women’s organization) is a member of, or aligned.Arguments against:
· Resistance to new solutions which challenge the status quo or disrupt the power base.
· Business is about meritocracy not diversity. Legislation or quotas give women an unfair advantage and undermines the principle of merit.
If you would like a copy of the full Resolution or have something to add to the resolution or argument for or against, just leave a comment and I will send you the whole thing.