Global domination of Andrews, Michaels and Johns, but where are all the women in politics and business?

Global domination of Andrews, Michaels and Johns, but where are all the women in politics and business?

If you’re an American with a son named John, chances are he’s in for a charmed life. Have a daughter? Well, let’s just say that things aren’t looking nearly as peachy.

Right now, there are a greater number of Republican senators called John than there are women. The same applies for Democratic governors. This is despite ‘Johns’ representing a mere 3.3 percent of the American populace while women comprise 50.8 percent.

It’s a ridiculous statistic.

And it’s not just politics where women are struggling. Last year, there were more men in the US named Michael and James who directed top grossing films than women in total. These findings come from a recent ‘Glass Ceiling’ index compiled by the New York Times.

We were surprised to learn that just across the pond, a similar issue exists in New Zealand. 2015 research conducted by Labour MP Deborah Russell, found there were more male board directors named Dave, than women.

But, before we Aussies take the moral high ground, let’s take a look in our own backyard. It won’t take long to see that there’s not a whole lot to be sanctimonious about.

Diversity expert, Conrad Liveris first highlighted the proliferation of men named ‘Andrew’, ‘John’ and ‘David’ in Australia’s top jobs, a number of years ago. It’s a commonly cited statistic, one that every business leader has heard, and yet, it’s a situation which has barely changed since it first came to light.

In fact, Liveris’ recent ‘Gender Equality at Work’ report released in February this year showed there were now more ‘Andrews’ leading ASX 200 organisations as CEOs, than women combined.

While minor progress had been achieved in certain areas like an increase in female CFOs and a slight increase in female board directors, there are still significant hurdles that corporate Australia must overcome to emerge gender equal.

And there are many reasons why such progress makes good business sense aside from the obvious social niceties. McKinsey research in 2015 showed that companies which were more gender diverse were fifteen percent more likely to produce better returns. Other studies have found that diversity in general leads to greater innovation and creativity within workforces.

“There is a business case for diversity,” says Richard Warr, a professor of finance at North Carolina State University and coauthor of research paper ‘Do Pro- Diversity Policies Improve Corporate Innovation’. “It’s not just about trying to be nice. It’s good for business. It not only helps in terms of perception. It actually produces better outcomes.”

This is the business bottom line.

It’s time organisations in NZ, America, Australia (And let’s face it, the rest of the world) got their collective shit together.

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