Women’s advancement stunted by 'pink ghettos'

by 13 Dec 2011

Australia’s top female executives must move out of corporate Australia’s so-called ‘pink ghettos’ of finance, procurement and HR if they are to advance to senior executive positions in business, according to a forum discussion on gender equity.

According to a report published by The Australian, BAE Systems director of Land and Integrated Systems, Kim Scott, said their company employed approximately 6,000 people in Australia, and women made up 65% of the HR department but only 2% of the engineering staff.

Speaking at the event, which was hosted in Adelaide, Scott told the industry forum that the term “pink ghettos” referred to the sectors where women tend to congregate, and the practice was impeding cross-industry diversity.

Dr Margaret Byrne, a member of the Oxford Business Alumni and honorary advisor on leadership and change at Wollongong University, previously told HC that while there is plenty of talk about creating more diverse workplaces, there is a question over whether organisations are really driving change.

Dr Byrne has likened the lack of diversity in workplaces to an ‘elephant in the room’, and said there is a responsibility on organisations, and indeed HR, to drive change and increase the quality and number of vacancies open to diverse societal groups.

Byrne said that change is only possible by “building a culture where diverse groups can thrive and contribute”.

Cara Morton, managing director of Accenture Finance and Performance Management Consulting Asia-Pacific, said in a recent forum discussion that given 55% of university graduates are female, there is the reasonable expectation that the statistic would be reflected up the career level and across diverse industries– but it’s not.


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