By Deborah May
THE latest Catalyst Census confirms what we all knew: nothing much has changed for corporate women in a decade. According to Catalyst's latest research, the numbers of women in the US top Fortune 500 companies has barely budged. Women now hold 14.4 per cent of executive officer positions, up from 13.5 per cent in 2009, and female executive officers hold 7.6 per cent of the top earning positions, up from 6.3 per cent in 2009.
The same micro-movement is seen in Australia, with women now accounting for 8.4 per cent on boards, barely moved from 8.3 per cent in 2009, and 8 per cent of key executive positions, marginally up from 7 per cent in 2009.
Last month, I spoke at the Singapore Institute of Management's Women's Leadership Forum where diverse women shared their career experiences, challenges and successes. After listening to their stories and subsequently conducting additional research, it's clear that women's position in Asia is no better than that of their Western sisters. Indeed, women in Asia may need to be more adaptive to succeed.
It's imperative to global justice and prosperity, not to mention peace, that the challenges women face at work and in their careers are acknowledged and overcome. The business case is clear in Western and Asian contexts: organisations with more women in senior positions outperform those with fewer. In March 2009, the Indian Times reported that nine Indian companies run by women managers outperformed the 30 leading listed firms.