Diversity of Thought Blog

The Status Quo is Holding Australia Back: Symposium challenges business to change gears on Gender Diversity in Leadership

LTPF final smallAustralian boardrooms and C-suites are talking more about promoting gender balance in the top ranks but are still doing very little.

“The rhetoric for change is getting louder but it’s not translating into effective action: the wheels are spinning” says Frances Feenstra.

This challenge to change gears from talk to action will be a key focus in a new Symposium designed to provide innovative ways to deal with the urgent – but seemingly intractable problem – of gender balance in leadership.

Level the Playing Field is a ground breaking Symposium organised by The 100% Project in partnership with Leadership Victoria and will be facilitated by world-renowned thought leader Marty Linsky.

Frances Feenstra, Chair of The 100% Project, said, “The rhetoric appears to be louder from organisations which cling to their old ways”.

Nothing changes – vs.- Real change

“Many leaders typically end up appointing within their own networks. “So, of course, nothing changes.”

Frances noted: “In the past decade there has been almost no progress in the participation of women in senior corporate roles. Less than 10% of senior executives are women, majority of ASX 500 companies have no women board members, women CEO’s are rare and the gender pay gap remains unchanged.”

“The lack of gender balanced leadership is an active barrier to Australia’s economic performance and our collective bottom line”.

“We’ve had enough talking. We need to point to real change that’s taking place. Some Australian companies are taking the lead, like Australia Post and Qantas, but we need more consistent action across the board. Australia Post is a great example of an organisation taking action. In the space of just 3 years under their Future Ready strategy, Post has quietly increased its proportion of females in executive positions from 21% to 34%, and women on the executive committee from 11% to 46%. It has done this through a combination of proactive appointments and talent acquisitions, supported by female talent programs across four levels of management. We need more CEOs and Board Members to think beyond the current status quo, like Australia Post” Frances concluded.

The symposium will be held on 14 November in Melbourne. Tickets are still available.