Inbox: GENDER LIMITS

A lack of mentoring and other forms of guidance compounds the dramatic gender divide that opens up by the time many business people hit their 30s and 40s.
New research released by Colmar Brunton at the recent Women on Boards Gender Diversity Summit in Auckland shows many women are still not receiving the guidance they need to bridge New Zealand’s workplace gender divide.
Colmar Brunton CEO Jacqueline Ireland says the survey confirms “marked difference” between the numbers of men and women in leadership roles. It shows that half of men under 30 had the support of mentor or manager at work whereas only third of females in the same age group had similar support.
A significant 39 percent of 18-29 year-old women surveyed agreed that they have always wanted to be in top management, Ireland says. That fell away to 25 percent in the 30-39 year age bracket and dropped to lowly 12 percent of 40-49 year-old women.
A total of 59 percent of women with young families said they would not accept role or promotion that meant time away from family. Only 34 percent of men with young families agreed with that statement.
“Women generally outperform men at all levels of education and are coming into the workforce brimming with ambition and ability,” Ireland says. “Surely it is in companies’ interests to harness this and invest in it.”
Colmar Brunton’s research estimates just 32 percent of senior management or executive positions are occupied by women compared to 42 percent of middle management and 45 percent of total company positions.
A by-product of these numbers is the continuing perception that women have to work harder than men to make it in the boardroom or at the top table.
A whopping 81 percent of female senior executives and 72 percent of women overall agreed that women need to work harder than men to prove themselves, while 34 percent of male workers agreed.
The ‘Gender Diversity in the NZ workplace’ survey is based on insights from 800 respondents. M

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