Friday, March 5, 2010

Gattung & Chicks on Boards

Riding the XT media storm, former Telecom CEO Theresa Gattung has hit the publicity 'go' button before the release of her book 'Bird On A Wire' next week.
At a time when I was at business school and wobbling out into the workforce, having a woman at the helm of the biggest company in New Zealand made a huge difference. The gender split was roughly 50:50 in our lectures and we girls never once thought there was such a think as inequality in the workplace. Theresa was a shining light of "you do the work, you get the job." Ann Sherry at the helm of Westpac, Dame Sian Elias as Chief Justice and Helen Clark as Prime Minister backed up this theory, followed by Gattung ranking at 23rd most powerful women in the world by Fortune in 2006.
So what's happened?
Archival analysis indicated that of a total of 1366 corporate directors, women constituted 88 (6.44%) directorships. Women held 64 non-executive (4.69% of total directorships), 23 executive (1.68% of total directorships) and one alternate directorship. The findings indicated that there were only five women CEOs and only five out of a total of 240 New Zealand corporate boards achieved gender equality. Women on NZ Coporate Boards 2008
1.68% of executive directorships! So when Gattung comes out criticising the low-level of scrutiny the current CEO is receiving and addresses the issue of pay parity, there's a little more to it than 'sour grapes'. I don't blindly endorse leaders because I have the same plumbing as them and I certainly think Gattung made errors in the top seat. I do think she has unique experience and hasn't received the credit she has deserved.  There are challenges that are unique to women,  it's looking at the figures and realising that things are out of whack. Good work Theresa.

Posted via email from cjlambert's posterous

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