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Celebration or Circus

07 March 2011

Roll up, roll up. It's International Women's day! Come and buy a ticket to an event and enter a tick on the equal opportunity report. Lip service guaranteed!

Sound a little sceptical? Well heck yeh! What are we celebrating? The number of women on boards has actually declined in Australia this year, there are less than 3% of women who are CEOs of the top 200 ASX listed companies. Women make up only 12% of top management in Australian Companies and women receive only 6% of the venture capital funding pot for business growth and development.

Research from the Australian Graduate School of Entrepreneurship (AGSE) also demonstrates that women throughout the western world are still juggling with the demands of work and home. They are struggling to receive the financial support required to see their entrepreneurial ideas come to fruition and there is a lack of leadership and mentoring among women. Hardly a lot to celebrate considering we are 48% of the working population.

If companies want to maintain and promote women there are many adjustments they still need to make. We can't just stick our heads in the sand and pat ourselves on the back when there is still so much to be done. The worst part about it is that young women don't even know there is an issue. They truly believe that all things are equal and that they will be CEOs and Board Directors one day. The figures don't lie though - we are not going forward, but backward.

On the positive side, women are starting companies and succeeding in the face of the global financial crisis and a lack of funding and support. We do have choice and one of those choices is to dismiss the system and start our own.

So roll out the barrel but just remember that it takes an awful lot to win a prize in this circus.