It’s no surprise that men continue to dominate major leadership positions across almost all industry sectors in Australia.
Meanwhile, most women continue to go un-recognised for their efforts, with more than two thirds of major, non-gendered accolades going to men.
But, what if it were the other way around?
We posed the question to a number of Australian businesswomen: What would change if there were more women in leadership?
Katrina Barry, Managing Director at Contiki, the travel company that has perfected the art of travel for 18-35 year olds
“If there was a balance of women and men in leadership, traditional gender roles of breadwinner and homemaker would be shattered with the sexes needing to share responsibility.
“In the current environment, more pressure is placed on men to be the sole or majority earner and this often leads to sub-optional career choices based on securing the ‘right’ path or highest paying job.
“If both men and women had the ability to break stereotype and pursue passions rather than financial outcomes then both might find better fit and greater satisfaction, also a greater productivity and economic performance that correlates to more women in leadership.”
Kate Morris, CEO and founder, Adore Beauty – Australia’s leading online shopping destination for beauty and cosmetics.
“With more women in leadership, Australian companies would all be more successful!
“There are numerous studies showing that gender-diverse leadership produces better business outcomes, including profitability, innovation, customer experience, and employee retention. Particularly in retail – where women are responsible for 85% of purchasing decisions – there is a very strong business case for having more women in leadership positions.”
Rebekah Campbell, co founder of Hey You, the order ahead app
“Becoming a mother has fundamentally changed my outlook and the way my brain works. Mothers have hyperactive empathy programming. We couldn’t tolerate harm to anyone’s children and we’re all someone’s child.
“Mothers are also very future focussed. We value the world we’re passing on to our children over the lifestyles we lead today. If more women and mums were in leadership roles then climate change, environmental protection, the fight against infectious diseases, peace and equality would outrank economic rationalism and small-minded protectionism.”
Taryn Williams, Founder & CEO, theright.fit
“I think the world would improve if more women were in leadership, because we would build better, more balanced and representative workplaces.
“As a tech founder, I’m incredibly passionate about increasing the number of women who study STEM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) and helping them to see that working in a tech company is a viable (and exciting!) career option for them.
“When a business of any kind, but especially a technology company, has a good representation of different ages, ethnicities, and importantly genders, working in the company, we build better products that serve the needs of the client better because all the needs of the market are understood and represented. This makes for more successful and more profitable companies, so to me, it’s a no brainer!”
Dr Amantha Imber, Founder and CEO, Inventium, Australia’s leading Innovation Consultancy
“Women have been shown to be decidedly more suited to management positions than their male counterparts, naturally ranking higher in general than men in their abilities to innovate and lead with clarity and impact.
“Having a more balanced female view would bring much-needed diversity to the discussions. Diversity is hugely beneficial for innovation, and the world can always do with more of that.”
Julie Demsey, General Manager, SBE Australia delivering the Springboard Enterprises Accelerator program supporting female lead tech companies in growing and scaling their businesses.
“Having more women leading businesses will help us eradicate gender bias – both conscious and unconscious.
“Young girls and boys alike benefit from seeing strong, successful females leading healthy profitable businesses. They will expect this to be the norm and see this as how the world is rather than how it could or should be. As these beliefs change, so too will the tendency for bias and we will find an equality in the workplace. I hope to see this in my lifetime.”
Kristy Chong, CEO & Founder of Modibodi, the revolutionary women’s high-tech underwear company that empowers women of all ages, shapes and sizes to live a better life.
“As for major changes, we paint women out to be nurturers and peacemakers but I do not think these qualities are female specific. The major beliefs and attitudes between men and women in Australia are mostly the same, but the resources to support women and the education around equality and what that means is still lacking.
“As a result Australia is still a male dominated society.
“So if more women leaders we would achieve equality, because ultimately we have more to gain.”