The Wheeler Centre
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The Talking Point: Banging on the Ceiling
When the women of Australia started their march towards equal rights almost half a century ago, they envisaged broad-ranging changes. Today, women make up slightly less than half the total workforce. But bastions of male privilege remain – none more so than the company boardroom.
Women account for less than one in 10 private company directorships. And while women earn 16% less than men in overall terms, in the financial sector they earn up to 32% less.
In this Talking Point, we look at the glass ceilings that continue to impede women inside the boardroom and out.
Session chair Narelle Hooper is joined by Helen Szoke, Carol Schwarz and Margaret Alston. Together they discuss the perceptions and prejudices which hamper progress for women at work, evaluate the potential impact of shareholder activism and weigh gender quotas against so-called meritocracy.
Throughout, they consider whether gender equality in the workplace is best couched as a rights-based argument or an economic imperative.