Gender disparity is not a new topic but I recently watched a documentary, ‘Miss Representation’, which focuses on how mainstream media and culture contribute to the under-representation of women in positions of power and influence.
The documentary made me think about how I can assist in making a change as an executive recruitment consultant.
First, a refresher on the stats:
- The full-time average weekly ordinary earnings for women are 16.2% less than for men (ABS 2016).
- The gender pay gap in ASX 200 organisations is 28.7%.
- Average superannuation balances for women at retirement are 52.8% less than those for men (ASFA 2015).
- As of January 2016, 23.4% of directors in the ASX 200 are women (AICD).
Back to the documentary - Katie Couric (journalist and news reader) said:
“The media can be an instrument of change, it can maintain the status quo and reflect the views of society or it can, hopefully, awaken people and change minds. I think it depends on who’s piloting the plane”.
How can I make a difference?
I’m surrounded by women I love and respect, we all are. Whether it’s our mothers, grandmothers, wives, girlfriends, daughters, friends, colleagues, managers, leaders or mentors and the overwhelming majority of people I meet believe we all need to do more when it comes to reducing the gender disparity. But I don’t manage a team at a large multi-national company so how can I possibly make a difference to gender parity in corporate Australia?
"The problem can sometimes seem too big to tackle and I’m too small to make a difference."
So, we have decided to invest time into discussing and promoting these issues specifically in procurement in Queensland, NSW and Victoria. Yes, it is a niche sector but it’s a start, it’s action. I will start to promote and tell the stories of women who have excelled in a career in procurement and hopefully this will encourage more females to enter procurement and once there, strive to become leaders.
Six Degrees Executive is currently conducting research (quantitative and qualitative) focusing on women in procurement. I will contribute the qualitative research by interviewing and publishing conversations with female procurement leaders. My aim is to understand their journey, their rise to senior roles and promote the great work some of our female leaders are doing!
If you’re interested in taking part, please let me know, alternatively if your organisation is doing anything to champion gender parity I’d also love to hear about it.
Keep an eye out for our article and subsequent interview series.