Our Foreign Minister, Julie Bishop, is very much on the case with regard to women’s empowerment; with a particular focus on our Pacific neighbours. This meeting was part of the two yearly bi-lateral meeting between Australia and Singapore’s Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade ministers. A big effort to organise.
The Women’s Dialogue meeting was attended by 30 invited guests plus the Ministers. Everyone made a comment on their perceptions of women in corporate leadership under the facilitation of Tamerlaine Beasley, an expert in cross cultural issues (and WOB member).
The WOB contribution was around the strategic drivers of success for increasing women in senior roles - in other words, the things that matter:
- Good data over time that can usefully change behaviour as it informs KPIs, enables reporting om gender and the identification of good performers. Australia has a world class dataset thanks to WGEA annual reporting.
- Increasing the transparency of board recruitment is paramount. The WOB vacancy board is an example. But also boards often need support for an understanding of effective director recruitment.
- Encouraging women to consider a board / committee role as part of their career offers the double benefit of providing a career boost and improving the ‘pipeline issue’. Don’t forget the younger women.
- And finally, I gave a plug for government activities over the years in Australia; where a long-term focus on more women on government boards has proved beneficial. Australia has been successful via a mix of many things including ministerial fiat, a supportive bureaucracy, targets and reporting, data reporting across the recruitment process of applications; short list numbers; interviewees and appointments.
Additionally, your scribe met with Singapore based WOBers – who offered insights to the Singaporean situation at the lovely Shangri-La Hotel. AND I travel with Qantas as first choice!