Knocking Down Doors

New Zealand Management, May 2007 | Go to article overview
Save to active project

Knocking Down Doors


Do you like John Key's new suit? Have you seen what George Bush has been wearing lately? Thought not. So it's a sad state of affairs when the only letter to the Dominion Post in response to a story on Prime Minister Helen Clark's meeting with US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice mentions their clothing. For women in top positions are still a rare breed. That's despite some tiresome media perceptions that women hold the top jobs in this country.

The reality, as Minister of Women's Affairs Lianne Dalziel said at a recent Deloitte/NZIM Women in Business Networking Series in Auckland, is a glacial improvement in their prospects.

"The truth is that a small number of high profile women have broken through the glass ceiling but the fact remains that the carpet remains very sticky."

Dalziel draws her evidence from last year's New Zealand Census of Women's Participation which reveals that a paltry seven percent of directors on our top 100 listed companies are women. That's just two percent more than two years before.

That seven percent means we stack up way behind Norway (22 percent), the United States (13.6 percent) and the United Kingdom (10.5 percent). We're even, for heaven's sake, worse than Australia which manages to ensure 8.6 percent of its top companies' directors are women.

"It's only a marginal difference but I always like to throw that on the table because most New Zealanders don't like to be behind Australia in anything," says Dalziel. "Instinctively, it almost can't be right." And no, she can't put her finger on an easy explanation for that uneasy fact.

Dalziel refuses to buy into notions of conspiracies designed to lock our women out of our boardrooms. Nor does she accept that tokenistic quotas will do the trick in the private sector--although goals to achieve an even split between male and female board members in the government sector by 2010 are concentrating the mind wonderfully.

Instead, she sticks to the slower route of building a business case to prove that diversity is, as one Canadian study puts it, "not just the right thing but the bright thing to do".

Certainly, there is no shortage of studies to bear out her claim that there is a link between better representation of women on boards and stronger financial performance. And in any case, there's a certain lack of logic in thinking that shoulder-tapping among men is the best way to provide the fresh blood needed at the helms of our nation's enterprises.

New initiatives are under way. Besides the Institute of Directors' members-only board appointment service, which matches members with board openings, Dalziel notes three new groups are developing web-based nominations databases that will make women with appropriate skills more readily available to businesses.

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited article

Knocking Down Doors
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?