More women in lead­ing busi­ness roles

Australian Forests and Timber - - IN THE NEWS -

AL­THOUGH MEN con­tinue to hold the ma­jor­ity of Aus­tralia’s top lead­er­ship po­si­tions the role of women is cru­cial to the fu­ture of the na­tion.

Ac­cord­ing to new Gen­der Indi­ca­tor fig­ures re­leased by the Aus­tralian Bureau of Statis­tics (ABS) in 2013-14, just 26% of Key Man­age­ment Per­son­nel, 24% of Board Di­rec­tors and 17% of CEOs were women,” said Lisa Conolly from the ABS.

“Lat­est data also shows 35% of Com­mon­wealth jus­tices and judges and 23% of all State Supreme Court and Court of Ap­peal judges were women. “The Health Care and So­cial As­sis­tance (37%), Ed­u­ca­tion and Train­ing (36%) and Ad­min­is­tra­tive and Sup­port Ser­vices in­dus­tries (21%) recorded the high­est pro­por­tions of women CEOs, while there were very few in the Min­ing (3%) and Fi­nan­cial and In­surance Ser­vices (4%).” The sit­u­a­tion in the pub­lic ser­vice is chang­ing, how­ever, with the pro­por­tion of women in se­nior ex­ec­u­tive roles ris­ing from 31% in 2004 to 40% in 2014. And in 2015, 31% of Fed­eral par­lia­men­tar­i­ans were women, up from 26% in 2005. Ca­reer-wise, women make up 42% of the pro­fes­sional, sci­en­tific and tech­ni­cal ser­vices in­dus­try, 70% of per­sons in ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing, 78% of the health care and so­cial as­sis­tance in­dus­try and 49% of the pub­lic ad­min­is­tra­tion and safety sec­tor.

Gen­der In­di­ca­tors, Aus­tralia, brings to­gether a va­ri­ety of ABS and non-ABS data, and ex­plores the dif­fer­ences be­tween men and women in our so­ci­ety, and how these dif­fer­ences are chang­ing over time.

Michael Hart­man, CEO of ForestWorks (which amongst many roles also fa­cil­i­tates the na­tional Women in Forests and Tim­ber Net­work), said that the in­ter­est­ing is­sue for ForestWorks was how train­ing, ed­u­ca­tion and skills de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties might af­fect em­ploy­ment out­comes when it comes to gen­der.

“Many peo­ple progress through their ca­reers via the learn­ing and de­vel­op­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties of­fered to them in the work­place.

“Ac­cord­ing to NCVER statis­tics, in 2014 fe­males only made up 4% of peo­ple en­rolled in a vo­ca­tional ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing course for the forestry and wood prod­ucts in­dus­try which is well be­low their per­cent­age of em­ploy­ment in the in­dus­try. How­ever women make up 53% of en­rol­ments in VET across all in­dus­tries and 84% of en­rol­ments for com­mu­nity ser­vices and health cour­ses.

“A high pro­por­tion of ei­ther gen­der within a spe­cific in­dus­try has an im­pact on train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties. Ev­i­dence sug­gest that the ma­jor­ity of op­por­tu­ni­ties for learn­ing and de­vel­op­ment of­ten go to the peo­ple who are part of the dom­i­nate gen­der in a par­tic­u­lar in­dus­try or work­place. Ul­ti­mately this is of­ten the chal­lenge about man­ag­ing and ex­tract­ing the ad­van­tages of di­ver­sity,” he said.

“Peo­ple tend to pro­mote and of­fer train­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties to peo­ple who think and act like them, there­fore dom­i­nate gen­der bias is per­pet­u­ated, of­ten out­side of the aware­ness of the de­ci­sion mak­ers. This ef­fect snow­balls over time and be­comes part of the cul­ture of an or­gan­i­sa­tion or an in­dus­try.

“This is where in­vest­ing in ed­u­ca­tion and train­ing can be ben­e­fi­cial for an or­gan­i­sa­tion. Firstly, to have a train­ing pol­icy that recog­nises the need for train­ing to be of­fered to all em­ploy­ees who are po­ten­tial can­di­dates for a new po­si­tion; and se­condly, via lead­er­ship train­ing to recog­nise the ben­e­fits of di­ver­sity – as­sum­ing that di­ver­sity is prop­erly man­aged. The most ob­vi­ous and sim­ple way to in­crease di­ver­sity is to look to­wards in­creas­ing gen­der bal­ance in roles across all lev­els of an or­gan­i­sa­tion,” said Michael.

Vic­to­ria’s Min­is­ter for Agri­cul­ture and Re­gional De­vel­op­ment Jaala Pul­ford is also a strong be­liever in the role women play es­pe­cially in ru­ral ar­eas.

“With our food and fi­bre in­dus­try con­tribut­ing more than $11.6 bil­lion to Vic­to­ria’s econ­omy, it’s vi­tal we recog­nise the con­tri­bu­tion of ru­ral women to this cru­cial sec­tor,” the Min­is­ter had said when ad­dress­ing the Ru­ral Women Un­cov­ered Fo­rum, in Beech­worth.

“As Vic­to­ria’s first fe­male Agri­cul­ture Min­is­ter, I am ex­traor­di­nar­ily proud to sup­port and pro­mote the role women play in our pri­mary in­dus­tries and ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties.”

Themed Ex­pos­ing the Po­ten­tial of Women in Agri­cul­ture, guest speak­ers in­cluded Ge­orgie Som­er­set (Vice Pres­i­dent of Ag­force), Ni­cole Ladd (Vic­to­rian Re­gional Man­ager of Prime Su­per), Alexandra Gart­mann (CEO of the Foun­da­tion for Ru­ral and Re­gional Re­newal) and Jodie Goldswor­thy (Di­rec­tor at Beech­worth Honey).

“The Ru­ral Women Un­cov­ered Fo­rum is a unique and im­por­tant ini­tia­tive, bring­ing many in­spi­ra­tional women from ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties to­gether to net­work, share ex­pe­ri­ences, make dis­cov­er­ies and in­spire one an­other.”

■ Wendy Fen­nell, Man­ag­ing Di­rec­tor of Mount Gam­bier-based Fen­nel Forestry.

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