Women in the workplace
Equal opportunity in the workplace has been a major issue in Australia for a number of years now.
The average weekly wage for women in Australia is $1,207.20, compared to $1,534.80 for men, a difference of 21 per cent.
Women in senior management roles
There is also a significantly lower representation of women than men on company boards in Australia. According to the 2012 GMI Ratings Women on Boards survey, just 13.8 per cent of board directorships in Australia are held by women.
These figures are only slightly higher than the global average
of 11.1 per cent female board representation in industrialised
countries, according to the GMI survey.
Australia's rating of 68.5 per cent of companies with at least one female director is also slightly above the global average of 63.3 per cent. However, when it comes to companies with at least three female directors, Australia registers just 4.1 per cent, compared to a global average of 10.5 per cent.
Furthermore, 54 per cent of the top-200 companies listed on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) had no women sitting on their boards as at 2010 according to the Australian Human Rights Commission. Something so socially important is going backward. This has actually increased from 49.7 per cent in 2004!
The AHRC also notes that although 57.5 per cent of Commonwealth Public Service employees are female, they make up just 35.3 per cent of Federal Government board positions.
The good news is that the GMI survey found Australia is second only to France for the rate at which it is currently appointing women to its boards. Female board representation in Australia increased by 3.5 per cent between March 2011 and March 2012, and 5.4 per cent between March 2010 and March 2012.
These figures are even more impressive when you consider that, unlike France, Australia does not have any government legislation in place to force companies to appoint women to their boards. In January 2010, the French Government recently legislated that companies must be 20 per cent female by January 2013 and 40 per cent female by January 2016. Norway and Finland have similar laws in place.