Shockingly, a 2014 Grant Thornton report shows that the 24 per cent global average has remained “unchanged from 2013, and even from 2007. This suggests that the proportion of women in senior management has returned to its ‘natural level’ following the financial crisis during which women were disproportionately hit.”So what have we truly accomplished? Have we really, as EU Justice Commissioner Viviane Reding suggests, seen “the first cracks in the glass ceiling?” 2010 saw the launch of the 30% Club. This was followed by a goal set by the Mervyn Davies 2011 review. It suggested that the UK should aim to have 25 per cent of women on boards by 2015. In 2013, the European Parliament also voted to back a proposed law to “improve gender balance.” This legislation would mean that by 2020, 40 per cent of non-executive directors would have to be women. Of course, SMEs were excluded from the directive. This ruling is currently pending. According to the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the representation of women rose from 12.5 per cent in 2011 to 20.7 per cent in 2014. And a Cranfield International Centre report revealed that only 24 more females were needed on FTSE 100 boards int order to reach that target. Related content:Balanced Reputation between Men and Women in Business Law: The French Quota System to the Test of EU Legislation‘, it said: “This article suggests that the French approach is wide reaching in its coverage of executive as well as non-executive directors and, as such, goes further than the proposed EU directive and has the potential to be a role model within the EU.” And who can forget Norway, the country who set quotas into motion. When the country called for a 40 per cent quota in 2003, the world watched with bated breath to find out whether this would lead to the appointment of unqualified directors. Women’s wages also come close to men’s in Norway, even if it’s still at 80 per cent. But it’s one of the world’s poorest country’s that lead the equality ranking. Burundi, where four out of five people live below the poverty line, is the top country in women’s pay, earning 83 per cent of salaries of men in the same jobs. And, believe it or not, Denmark is the only place where women earn on average more than men. Sure it’s only a two per cent difference, but that’s a great statistic when it comes to increasing a female’s chances of leadership. This is largely because many women get better paid jobs than men. But when both genders do the same job, a woman will only earn 71 per cent of what a man makes. At the core of it all, let’s face the fact that although we put Norway on a pedestal, not one of its large cap companies has a female CEO. “The pressure to increase women’s representation was applied to all political parties in Scandinavia,” said Professor Drude Dahlerup of Stockholm University. This has led to an encouraging 40 per cent quota, but beyond that, women fall short.
Other countries that have gone on to implement corporate gender quotas perform in a similar manner. Disappointingly, Spain (22 per cent), Germany (14 per cent), and Switzerland (13 per cent) have some of the lowest proportions of women in senior management roles in the world. All despite policy involving the gender gap.Even in bigger countries such as the US, things aren’t any better. Although women comprise nearly half of the workforce, Catalyst research found that only 14.3 per cent hold top executive office positions at Fortune 500 Companies. Only 20 per cent of senior management roles are held by women. In the end, is that all that legislation can afford us? Read more about what we can learn from BRICS countries. By Shané Schutte
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