THE NUMBER of women in executive management positions has declined since 2006, according to 2008 EOWA Australian Census of Women in Leadership.
According to the census, women now hold 10.7 per cent of executive management positions, down from 12 per cent in 2006, and 45.5 per cent of companies have no women as executive managers, a significant increase from 39.5 per cent in 2006.
Furthermore, just 54.5 per cent of ASX200 companies have at least one working in an executive management position. This puts Australia well behind the United States with 85.2 per cent, and also trailing Canada (65.6 per cent), the UK, (60 per cent) and South Africa (59.3 per cent.).
At the time of the census, only four ASX200 companies had female CEOs — Harvey Norman Holdings Ltd, MacCarthur Coal Limited, Macquarie Airports and Singapore Telecommunications Limited — and at board director level there were more than 10 men to every woman.
In terms of the number of women holding in-line management roles, Australia has fallen to pre-2004 levels. Between 2003 and 2006 the number of women in these positions increased from 4.7 per cent to 7.4 percent, but this year it has slumped to 5.9 per cent.
According to the census, the retailing, telecommunication services, software and services and pharmaceuticals industries have the high percentage of women executive managers, while the insurance, retailing, consumer services, consumer durables & apparel and telecommunications services industries have over 15 per cent female board members.