Leadership change slow for women: Gillard on gender equality

(Australian Associated Press)


The move towards gender equality in leadership positions is occurring at a “glacial” pace, former prime minister Julia Gillard says.

Ms Gillard says problems remain across politics, business and in the media with women still having to contend with stereotypes that they are less interested or adapted to leadership roles.

She says across the globe women currently account for 23 per of national parliamentarians, 26 per cent of news media leaders, 27 per cent of judges, 15 per cent of corporate board members and 24 per cent of senior managers.

“Now, if we were seeing a fast rate of change in the statistics I cited then there would be nothing wrong with sitting back and waiting to wake up in a more equal world,” Ms Gillard said in a lecture at the University of Adelaide on Tuesday.

“But the rate of change is glacial.

“For example, the number of women in senior management globally has risen just one percentage point in 10 years.

“In politics, at the current rate of progress, it will take another half-century to reach parity with men.”

The former PM said it was equally troubling that any gains made could also be reversed, citing the slump in the representation of women in the current US cabinet under President Donald Trump.

Mr Gillard said to make change it was necessary to examine all the barriers present along a woman’s career path.

“Rather than talk about one high, hard glass ceiling, we talk about the glass labyrinth,” she said.

“The myriad of points in a career where a woman’s experience can be profoundly different to a man’s.”


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