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Gender equality on boards should not be mandated: Gail Kelly

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HC Online | 12 Sep 2011, 12:00 AM Agree 0
Westpac CEO Gail Kelly has told a business forum that she is against mandating minimum numbers of women for company boards.
  • Bree Vreedenburgh | 13 Sep 2011, 12:17 PM Agree 0
    I would have to agree with Gail Kelly that mandated gender balances is not the way to go. I would be loathe to place a less-qualified woman on a board rather than a more-qualified man purely to meet a mandated quota of women. Positions should be won on merit, not gender.
    To this end, I also disagree with Kelly's statement that she won't rest until 50% of her leadership positions are held by women. Only if those 50% are the best people for the jobs should they be placed in those jobs.
  • Kym | 13 Sep 2011, 01:12 PM Agree 0
    I agree with Bree all positions should be filled by the best candidate for the position. This should be irrespective of gender, race or religion. The best person for all the right reason should get the job.
  • Rachel | 13 Sep 2011, 01:28 PM Agree 0
    Mandating gender ratios on boards is absolutely discriminatory. If a male is best for the job, then let him have it. To dictate that a woman should have a place on a board purely because of her gender (and not necessarily her brains) is condescending and quite frankly, offensive. We can achieve on our own, thank you very much; this is 2011 and we don't need any help reaching the top, if we happen to be the best man (pun) for the job.
  • Liz McGuire | 13 Sep 2011, 01:39 PM Agree 0
    I agree with Bree on both points. Women should only be promoted if they are the most qualified person for the position. One of the reasons we have a higher number of men in more senior positions is that the majority of persons who have the qualifications and experience to be in those positions are still men. A good example is the number of female judges in the Supreme Court, Federal Courts and District Courts in Queensland. Although there is only about 20 - 30% representation of women at the Bar, the majority with only 10 - 15 years experience at the Bar women are being promoted to the judiciary at higher rates than men with more experience and qualifications. Gender bias can go both ways. We need to be careful that we do not go overboard and that we are appoint the BEST AND MOST QUALIFIED person for the job regardless of their gender.
  • The SheEO | 14 Sep 2011, 06:59 AM Agree 0
    Hmmmm... Convenient opinion by Gail Kelly? Yes there are women on the Board at Westpac, largely due to efforts of Kelly's predecessors Morgan and Joss and Chairman Ted Evans. But given Kelly has no women on her executive team, and also had none on her exec team at St George when she left, her comments ring of "of course we're appointing the best people but there just aren't any suitable women"... And I don't buy it. Quotas may be the only way to remove the blind spots for leaders like Kelly.
  • ET | 21 Sep 2011, 03:45 PM Agree 0
    Thye problem with saying 'let the best person get the job, irrespective of gender' does not take into consideration the discriminatory practices of those deciding what constitutes 'the best person for the job'. We need to start looking outside of traditional paradigms in regard to who 'is the best' and start diversifying the talent pool. Women often don't get into these positions not because 'they are not the best person for the job' but because they are not even considered because they don't fit the mold of what a lot of people consider 'leadership material'. Such a waste of good talent !
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