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The Bottom Line: Australia Needs More Women on Board!

A recent McKinsey Global Survey [‘Leadership Through The Crisis and After’ 2009] reports that ‘Many of the most needed leadership styles, now and in the future, are those used more frequently by women than by men.’

Other research shows that bottom line performance improves in companies with women at Board level, and that company performance increases significantly once there is a ‘critical mass’ of three or more women on a company’s board. [‘Women Matter: Gender Diversity, A Corporate Performance Driver’ 2007 and other studies.

And yet ...

Women on BoardJust 40% of Australia’s top ASX 200 companies have any women on their boards. Only 8.3% of board seats are held by women. Around 45% of top companies have no women in executive management. And these figures are going backwards, not forwards according to the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency [EOWA].

This represents a massive loss of talent and a significant loss of potential performance by Australia’s companies. This is not a gender issue, it is a national issue affecting every one of us.

What can we do about it?

One inspiring suggestion is a new program – Boardrooms Without Walls - being developed by Hugh Todd in partnership with a number of agencies, and with the support of various networks and groups that share similar aims.

Boardrooms Without WallsThis new initiative will have a core program where groups of women will work together to separate reality from fiction, clarify what kind of leadership will genuinely benefit companies, find their own strengths, and build individually tailored strategies to succeed in their ambitions. The group will also be coached by one of the most respected women in the field of corporate governance, a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Directors.

There will be regular gatherings to focus on relevant issues and to provoke new thinking about strategies. We will be setting up a members only online forum for discussion, sharing information and questions. You will be updated with regular newsletters ...and whatever else we can arrange that will help to make the difference that you need.

Those companies that have the vision to invest in developing women into board positions will be the ones that reap the bottom line rewards in the future. This is about Australia’s future prosperity and as such is everyone’s concern. Let’s hope this initiative is a massive success, for all our sakes!