'A way to go': Gender shift but women still left out of key management roles


The Champions of Change Coalition’s 2021 Impact Report shows a welcome shift towards gender equity among its 180 member organisations, but work needs to be done to see more women in key management roles.


The fourth annual impact report assesses Coalition members’ action and impact on gender equality over that last 12 months, using data from more than 180 member organisations operating in Australia and internationally. The report is one of the largest cross-sector voluntary public disclosures on gender equality measures globally.

The results this year show an increase in women’s representation in all leadership categories, with 84.9 per cent of member organisations achieving gender balance in recruitment, or a level of women’s representation in recruitment that improved women’s representation in the last year.

The report also found 81.3% have rates of women’s promotion that are either gender balanced or greater than women’s representation overall and 81.9% achieved or moved closer to gender balance overall since 2020. However, only 59.1 per cent achieved or improved gender balance in key management personnel over the past year.

Champions of Change Founder, Elizabeth Broderick AO, said there was still work to be done. “Workplace dynamics have absolutely changed and we acknowledge the commitment and disruptive actions of our Champions of Change Members and Groups working hard on a different response - there is a way to go."

When it came Coalition members accelerating change, and creating conditions to enable employees to thrive, the report found:

  • 97.2% have policies to enable flexible access to parental leave for all parents (94.5% in 2020)

  • 95.1% have initiatives in place to support employees experiencing or supporting family/friends experiencing domestic and family violence (84.5%. in 2020)

  • 91.7% revised and relaunched their approach to enabling flexible work in the past 12 months to reflect opportunities realised during COVID 19 89.4% have systems and structures in place to address bias in recruitment and promotions (82% in 2020)

  • 81.9% made a leadership commitment to gender equality through a specific strategy and action plan that is reviewed annually by the Board (or senior team if no Board)

  • 80.9% take specific action to highlight and address everyday sexism in the workplace (70.2% in 2020)

  • 75.2% oversee the conduct and actioning of outcomes on pay equity audits at least every two years (70.9% in 2020)

  • 66.7% publicly disclose gender equality targets and annual progress against them (68.1% in 2020)

Champions of Change Coalition CEO, Annika Freyer, said the Coaltion is committed to disrupting the systems of inequality in our society.

“Gender equality is a human issue, an economic issue and a core business issue. Throughout COVID19’s disruptions and in recovery Coalition members have come together to seize the opportunities to accelerate change and guard against risks of falling backwards on gender equality."

Preventing and responding to sexual harassment

  • 56% have established regular reporting on sexual harassment to the Board or executive leadership team

  • 58.2% have adapted workplace health and safety strategies to incorporate sexual harassment as a physical and psychological safety issue

  • 77.2% have taken action to review reporting options to ensure multiple confidential avenues for employees impacted by sexual harassment

  • 70.1% have reviewed employee education to better support all employees identify sexual harassment and know how to respond

  • 60.9% have invested in building internal support capability or expand relationships with external support services

Established in 2010 by Elizabeth Broderick AO, The Champions of Change Coalition’s aim is to step up beside women to help achieve gender equality and a significant and sustainable increase in the representation of women in leadership. The Coalition brings together more than 260 leaders from 225 organisations with over 1.5 million employees across 155 countries.

Read the full report HERE.


Latest newsRSS