Gender Equality: Is It a Myth? New Zealand May Boast Some High Profile Women Leaders-But the Reality Is That Fewer Females Are Making It to Senior Management Ranks. Vicki Jayne Asks: Why the Slippage? and What's the Business Fallout?

By Jayne, Vicki | New Zealand Management, June 2007 | Go to article overview

Gender Equality: Is It a Myth? New Zealand May Boast Some High Profile Women Leaders-But the Reality Is That Fewer Females Are Making It to Senior Management Ranks. Vicki Jayne Asks: Why the Slippage? and What's the Business Fallout?


Jayne, Vicki, New Zealand Management


You might think, looking at the top levels of New Zealand leadership, that the proverbial glass ceiling has been soundly split. But one prime minister or chief justice does not a revolution make--and losses like that of Telecom's Theresa Gattung, Westpac's Ann Sherry or Slingshot's Annette Presley help highlight how thin the ranks of female CEOs really are.

In the past three years New Zealand has actually slipped backwards in terms of female representation at senior business management levels, according to the 2007 Grant Thornton International Business Report. In 2004, its survey ranked us as equal fourth among nations surveyed with a proportion of 31 percent. That figure has now dropped to 24 percent and we're in 10th place behind countries like the Philippines, Russia, China and South Africa.

More than a third (37 percent) of the 150 Kiwi businesses included in the global survey had no women in senior management: 40 percent had just one.

It's not that the country lacks female talent--or even that it goes unrecognised--more that business seems to lack the will to create an environment that encourages female participation at senior levels.

The problem is most evident when women want to return to work after having children. Moving from full-time mum to full-time manager isn't the best option for many but there's not a lot of choice. Part-time roles are few and far between; flexibility to work from home is still viewed with suspicion in many organisations; and there obviously aren't quite enough willing house husbands to fill the gaps in what are often complex childcare arrangements.

We've perhaps been somewhat misled by the prominence of a few women in our political and business landscape into thinking we're doing okay on the gender equality front, suggests Leadership New Zealand (LNZ) chair Jo Brosnahan.

"I think we've been working under a severe misapprehension in this country. We've deluded ourselves by having a few high-profile women in positions of power and we're not putting enough effort into creating the substance behind that--we're not putting down the ladder for others to follow."

It's no coincidence that many high achievers either don't have kids or have partners prepared and able to take on the primary parenting role. But there are plenty who don't fit either of those descriptions.

"There are a whole lot of women who want it all--both work and family--but the environment is still not there to make it possible and easy," says Brosnahan.

LNZ, a not-for-profit trust set up to focus on developing the quality of this country's leadership, runs annual programmes for mid-level leaders from a wide cross-section of the working population. Brosnahan notes that women participants are often in the sort of part-time, entrepreneurial, or not-for-profit roles that offer them greater work choice. It's the corporates, she suggests, who are missing out.

She says her recent conversations with young women leaders highlight the challenges they still face in terms of trying to manage it all in a 'traditional' work environment. Many are instead drawn to self-employment which at least gives them a greater degree of flexibility.

"Businesses are not creating the sort of environment that allows those women to stay. They're not creating a caring, supporting environment that enables women to have children and work part-time--consequently they are losing those women," says Brosnahan.

Microsoft New Zealand managing director Helen Robinson agrees that New Zealand business could do more to encourage women leaders and believes that a failure to develop workplace diversity dents the Kiwi corporate potential for both productivity and innovation.

"Our belief is that it's not just a gender issue but a diversity issue--and diversity not just in terms of culture or race but thinking styles, age ... There was a recent Gartner report [www. …

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

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.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Gender Equality: Is It a Myth? New Zealand May Boast Some High Profile Women Leaders-But the Reality Is That Fewer Females Are Making It to Senior Management Ranks. Vicki Jayne Asks: Why the Slippage? and What's the Business Fallout?
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
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?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    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.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.