On Wednesday June 4 The Committee for Perth launched a report sharing startling findings from a two-year research project into the state of gender equality in Western Australia.

Based on over 170 interviews the report (Fitzsimmons, T.W., & Callan, V.J. (2015) Filling The Pool. Perth: The Committee for Perth) confirms that gender equity has reached a state of crisis in WA, with significant social and economic impact.

As a champion for gender equity change, Briscoe Search attended the launch event and was taken back by some of the findings. The report shows that:

  • Women in WA represent 55% of university graduates, but only 1.6% of CEOs
  • WA performs extremely poorly against national averages, with just half the female CEO’s, fewer than half the female directors and less than one third of female chairs.
  • If WA maintains it’s glacial rate of change we won’t see total workplace equality within our lifetime. (50/50 male and female CEOs won’t be achieved until 2343).
  • Studies conducted nationally and internationally calculate the GDP forgone every year due to gender inequality to be around 20% – representing a loss of around $300 billion each year to the Australian economy.

“Although the findings from the research project are stark, we’re not entirely surprised that gender equity has reached this crisis point in WA”, says Ainslie Gibson, a gender equity consultant for Briscoe Search. “The report supports what we’ve been hearing from our clients for some time, so we are all highly encouraged by the Committee for Perth’s focus on this issue and welcome gender equality being part of public dialogue on this scale”.

The landmark project explores how WA business can increase the participation of female leaders to enhance long-term prosperity for the region, culminating in a comprehensive set of 31 recommendations. The report addresses four pillars of support needed for women to progress in their careers deemed inadequate in the WA business community, including family support, adequate external childcare, spousal support and flexible employment.

The report also highlights the need for combined effort by Government, the corporate sector and individuals, stressing that achieving gender equality is in fact everyone’s responsibility.

“Despite the noise this report will undoubtedly make and the momentum it will create, many WA organisations remain unaware of the significant opportunity gender equity presents for improving business performance, quality of life, and the quality of our WA workforce, ” says Ainslie.

“And for those businesses who already strive for gender equity, there are still skills and knowledge gaps in moving from targets and ‘talk’ to actually achieving greater gender equality in the workplace ” Ainslie continues. “We hope that this landmark project will invoke more talk – and a lot more action – helping WA to address this significant issue.”

Briscoe Search is passionate about helping clients to attract, retain and develop executive female talent. To learn how we can assist your organisation in developing a diverse and sustainable workforce, contact a member of our gender equity team.

6382 1100 or Ainslie Gibson – ainslie@www.briscoesearch.com.au

Download a copy of the full report from the Committee for Perth website below.