Glass ceiling still not shattered
WHILE STRIDES have been made, women’s progression into positions of leadership in companies remains minuscule. The Business Women’s Association (BWA) suggests it will take between 20 and 40 years for women to reach parity with men as directors on corporate boards and in executive management. However, South African women are advancing faster than their counterparts in leading developed nations.
According to the BWA’s Women in Leadership Census, the number of female directors of JSE-listed companies increased from 14,6% to 16,6% between 2008 and 2009. SA has overtaken the US Fortune 500 at 15,2% female directors and Canada’s FP500 at 13%. Trailing behind is Britain’s FTSE 100 at 12,2% and Australia’s ASX at 8,3%.
“While SA may be progressing faster than other countries, the actual number of women directors and executives remains small and the rate of change is minuscule,” says Sandra Burmeister, CEO of executive search firm Landelahni Recruitment Group. “The good news is that companies with no female directors dropped from to 33,4% to 21,5% in one year. That compares with the Fortune 500, where companies with no female directors decreased slightly to 12,3%, with the FTSE100 lagging at 25%.”