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Banging on the Ceiling


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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 and quotas that continue to impede women inside the boardroom and out.


Narelle Hooper

Narelle Hooper is the editor of the Australian Financial Review’s BOSS magazine. She has reported on Australian business and financial markets for nearly 20 years across print and electronic media. Narelle is a former senior writer with the Australian Financial Review, finance correspondent with A... Read more

Helen Szoke

Helen Szoke commenced as Chief Executive of Oxfam Australia in January 2013. Prior to this appointment, Helen served as Australia’s Federal Race Discrimination Commissioner, following seven years as the Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commissioner. She is currently Co-Chair of Make Po... Read more

Margaret Alston

Professor Margaret Alston AO is Professor of Social Work and Head of Department at Monash University. Margaret was appointed an honorary professor at Sydney University in 2005 and Charles Sturt University in 2009. At Monash University she has established the Gender, Leadership and Social Sustainabil... Read more

Carol Schwarz

Carol Schwarz AM is a visionary leader who works with innovative people, organisations, systems, leaders and communities to achieve transformative outcomes. Carol is a woman who has had an impact on all aspects of Australian society through her business achievements and her involvement in one of thi... Read more


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The Wheeler Centre acknowledges the Wurundjeri Woi Wurrung people of the Kulin Nation as the Traditional Owners of the land on which the Centre stands. We acknowledge and pay our respects to all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples and their Elders, past and present, as the custodians of the world’s oldest continuous living culture.