The Last Word: Rowena Phair

Speaking to the Institute of Directors (IOD), Phair said the recent Goldman Sachs report Closing the Gender Gap: Plenty of Potential Economic Upside shows there are significant gains to be made by broadening the sectors women work in, their seniority, and increasing the number of women in senior governance roles. Goldman Sachs identifies an increase of up to 10 percent GDP by adopting such measures.

“The challenge now is for employers to test their own unconscious bias which stops them employing or promoting women, and for women to push through barriers into different sectors and higher paying roles. This is not about being politically correct – it’s about creating successful economy and society for all New Zealanders.”

Phair applauded IOD’s newly announced mentoring scheme designed to increase the pool of women ready for senior governance roles and increase diversity in New Zealand’s boardrooms. “We know there is positive relationship between women on boards and better financial performance,” says Phair. “Companies with diversity around the board table fared better during the recent global financial crisis.”

She says the Ministry of Women’s Affairs will be talking the lead on number of recommendations Goldman Sachs made in its report, including:

• investigating the fields of study and career choices of young women and young men
• identifying emerging industries and ways to increase women’s employment in those industries
• working with employers to encourage more women into trades
• increasing the number of women on boards and in leadership roles.

The cover story inThe Director, in the September issue of NZ Management, examines the issue of gender imbalance on New Zealand boards.

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