Women CEOs: There are more CEOs named David, Peter and John

Originally published on the Ignition Wealth website.

Fact: you are more likely to be named David or Peter or John than to be a woman running a major company in Australia.

Despite the number of women at the helm of big businesses growing and balancing out, the bias continues to lean towards placing men in these head positions.

In a survey of ASX 200 companies, just nineteen CEOs were women. To put this into perspective, there are 19 women to 21 Davids, 32 Peters and 32 Johns. To be a CEO of an ASX 200 company, you are much more likely to be named David, or Peter or John, than to be female. 13 of these 200 companies have no women on their boards at all, according to the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) gender diversity report. The figure drops even lower when we look at Fortune 500 companies, with just over four percent CEOs being female.

Globally, the percentage of women in management and executive positions are often even worse than in Australia. In Germany, it is 15 percent, in Ireland, 19 percent and Japan, just seven percent.

Fintech follows this trend, combining technology and financial services, two industries with a history of not hiring many women. Half of the top tech companies don’t have a single female board member and in the top 50 fintechs in the UK, a measly nine percent of management positions are held by women. Evidently, it doesn’t seem to matter where you go – in business, in finance, in technology and especially in fintech, it is unlikely to have a woman topping the company.

There is an argument becoming popular, which asserts this trend is becoming harmful to big companies. According to a study by Credit Suisse Research Institute in 2012, companies with at least one woman on the board perform better than a company with male-only boards. More varied, diverse opinions appears to bring new and more creative innovations. Some companies, however, aren’t taking this research on board, and male-only or large majority male boards persist.

The research found that higher female representation on management boards can provide higher returns on their fairness, have higher valuations and higher payout ratios. It is good for your business to have a diverse team from the bottom up and it has benefited businesses globally. If you are providing financial services for both men and women, and for people from diverse cultures, then it makes sense for board members, CEOs and all staff, to represent this diversity.


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