Sector Gender Audit Revealed
12 September 2012 at 9:57 am
An audit of gender diversity in the community sector by ACOSS has revealed that the participation of women on boards and in senior management positions is higher than in other sectors.
However, the first gender audit says there is still has some way to go to achieve true gender equality, especially in organisations with larger turnovers.
The research into Australia’s Not for Profit community sector – a collaboration between YWCA Australia, the Australian Council of Social Service and Women on Boards – found women occupy 51 per cent of all board director roles and 60 per cent of senior management positions.
Dr Cassandra Goldie, Chief Executive of ACOSS said: “It is extremely pleasing to see our sector leading the way in gender equity in leadership roles in Australia. The number of women on boards is particularly high among younger age groups, which shows the cultural shift that’s taking place at the highest levels of our workplace.
“For instance, 76 per cent of board roles held by people aged 18-30 are occupied by women, who also hold 80 per cent of all senior management positions in the same age group.
“That number is almost as high for those aged 31-40 but then drops off and reverses for those aged over 65, where men occupy 67 per cent of board roles and 55 per cent of senior management positions.”
Dr Caroline Lambert, Executive Director of YWCA agreed that the community sector was performing well but that more could be done to increase women’s participation.
“Clearly there is a good news story here. Our sector is doing much better than others. However, this shouldn’t be surprising given that women actually make up about 85 per cent of the community sector’s workforce,” she said.
“This may be linked to the under-representation of women on boards generally – women may be less likely to consider moving to boards of organisations with higher turnovers in other sectors. It shows that larger organisations still have some work to do in the area of gender equality.
“In preparing this study we have been struck by the lack of data on gender diversity in the leadership of the community sector. With the establishment of the Australian Charities and NFP Commission there is an opportunity to address the gender inequality in the sector and gather more data on these factors. This survey has allowed us to shine a light on the issue, and hopefully create a springboard for further change. ”
The survey was distributed electronically via YWCA Australia, ACOSS and WOB networks with a total of 746 responses from organisations across the country.