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Quota calls to see more women represented at the top of Australian companies

Posted by: Ellen Feely | 27 November, 2012 - 11:38 AM
Westpac's Gail Kelly is one of the dozen women to hold the role of CEO in the ASX 500. (Photo: Michele Mossop)

Westpac's Gail Kelly is one of the dozen women to hold the role of CEO in the ASX 500. (Photo: Michele Mossop)

With figures revealing females are grossly under-represented on boards and in executive roles in the top 200 listed Australian companies, the Director of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency has called for compulsory gender quotas.

Neil Mitchell program social commentator Nicole Brady backed these calls, saying a quota system was needed in order for more females to be represented at the top level of companies.

HAVE YOUR SAY: Should the government impose a quota to ensure companies appoint more women to their boards and executive roles? Comment below

The 2012 Australian Census of Women in Leadership found women hold 12.3 per cent of directorships among the ASX’s top 200 listed companies, and 9.2 per cent of women held executive roles in the ASX 500.

"Some people believe, and I'm one of them, we're going to have to bring in some quotas to give them a jolt, shake them up and get some women into these positions,” Nicole Brady said.

”It means that when boards are sitting around deciding who is going to fill the next vacancy on their board, when it's a bunch of men sitting around, they're going to have to become aware of their gender disparity, they're going to have to be aware of the fact there are no women sitting in that level of that company and go looking for one who is good enough to do it.”

However Neil Mitchell believed appointments should be made on a merit-based system.

"That means that if a man and a woman both apply for a job, when they walk into the interview before they've answered a question, the woman is in front,” he said.

Neil Mitchell said a quota-based system would mean companies wouldn’t ever know who would be the most able to run the organisation.

But Nicole Brady said despite women comprising 60 per cent of university graduates, 25-year-old females entering the workforce had the mentality that a board-level appointment was an unlikely achievement for them to reach in their career.

”I don't think we can agree that 90% of executive positions at Australian companies should be held by men because they're men,” she said.

LISTEN: Nicole Brady with Neil Mitchell:

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Blog comments Your Say

  • Female CEOs. What's that? A new and previously unknown type of amino acids?

    Darren Thursday 29 November, 2012 - 4:16 PM

    IAN Wednesday 28 November, 2012 - 5:15 PM
  • I don't know what Nicole Brady is complaining about. There are lots of female CEOs. Who can forget Pacific Brands chief executive Sue Morphet who personally axed 1850 jobs and pulled Bonds manufacturing out of Australia entirely and into labour cheap China.

    Good for Australia? Wednesday 28 November, 2012 - 2:42 PM
  • Appoint the most competent applicant. I'm damned sure I wouldn't want my money invested in a company that made appointments by quota, rather than by ability.

    David T. Wednesday 28 November, 2012 - 9:15 AM
  • Nicole Brady reminds me of that quote from George Orwell's Animal Farm: "All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others."

    Sure, that makes sense Tuesday 27 November, 2012 - 7:36 PM
  • How many Women make it to the top." BLIGH ? KENEALLY.?LAWRENCE.? KERNOT.? MILNE.?and of all our "G/V". I REST MY CASE. "OH THERE IS "JULIAR" THAT IS THE LOWER PART OF OUR SYSTEM.

    IAN Tuesday 27 November, 2012 - 5:53 PM

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