“In all the meetings I go to, I never meet women. It is so depressing.” So states Martha Lane Fox, co-founder of Lastminute.com in an interview with the BBC.
Research confirms that women represent less than 10% of Board level and Director level positions. Obviously there are exception, although a quick look at a range of Annual Reports recently revealed that women at Board and Director level invariably held ‘traditional’ women’s portfolios of Communications, People Resources and Adminstration.
Whether women work for an employer (government, private enterprise or not-for-profit) or even if they are self-employed, they can hit the glass ceiling no matter if they are just starting out, transitioning on or in the process of climbing the corporate ladder.
What are some of the barriers women face?
- pay inequity. The higher up the ladder you fo the greater disparity between male and female wages.
- less experience in the workforce due to chidbirth and child rearing aps in employment – most women are unable to return to the level of employment they held prior to pregnancy and are often not kept in the loop during their absence
- women comprise the bulk of the part-time workforce thereby gaining lower hourly rates and less accumulated superannuation
- lack of valuing the work that women perform. For example, tradition women’s roles in community services is underpaid
A review of the Equal Opportunity Act bore this out:
Despite the significant increases in women’s workforce participation, women continue to spend less time in the paid workforce than men, and to fare less well than men on a number of key indicators while at work. The nature of women’s work is also quite different to men’s….Over a lifetime, pay inequity places women at a considerable disadvantage compared with men.Reference:www.fahcsia.gov.au/sa/women/pubs/general/equal_opp_review/Pages/p2.aspx