Where are the women?

I was speaking this week at the ADC Future Summit in Melbourne and there was some discussion on the fact that Australia is fast going backwards when it comes to women in leadership roles.

My simple very non-theoretical answer when challenged on ‘why’ was simply ‘why not’. The reality is that one by one women make a choice about the role they want to play and the contribution they wish to make. Many women choose to do ‘it’ for themselves – and run their own show.

Interesting the new figures from the latest (March quarter) Sensis Business Index Report tell me that I want more women in senior roles everywhere in Australian businesses. Women bring not just different qualities but also a different outlook.

Women business operators are more positive about their prospects heading into 2011 and more likely to be aiming for significant business growth than their male counterparts (that sounds like a plan!)

The analysis also shows that businesswomen are more successful with accessing credit and more optimistic about the future of their business and the economy.

Key research findings:

  • 62% of women who own or run businesses hold stronger expectations for sales in a year’s time compared to 57% of businesses run by men.
  • 87% of businesses operated by women that had applied for finance reported success with their applications compared with 59% of businesses run by men.
  • 54% of women believe the economy will also perform better in a year’s time, compared to 48% of men.
  • 10% of women were aiming for significant growth, compared to 6% of men.

I cannot stress enough that it is important for women to let others around them see what they are up to. We need more role models. A great way to make sure women get noticed is to nominate a woman for the Telstra Business Women’s Awards which is a wonderful vehicle for profiling women’s achievements.

  • Nominations and entries are still open (closing June 21).
  • Click here for the entry website.
  • The Awards recognise the individual achievement of women in the community from a diverse range of areas including business, education, health, science, government, sport and community work, and have been going for 16 years.

Who do you know who is doing great things in her chosen field? Nominate her right now… We need more role models – and in so doing we will start a movement that will become our culture of women in leadership.

Naomi Simson is considered one of Australia’s ‘Best Bosses’. She is an employee engagement advocate and practices what she preaches in her own business. RedBalloon has been named as one of only six Hewitt Best Employers in Australia and New Zealand for 2009 and awarded an engagement scorecard of over 90% two years in a row – the average in Australian businesses is 55%. RedBalloon has also been nominated by BRW as being in the top 10 Best Places to Work in Australia behind the likes of Google. One of Australia’s outstanding female entrepreneurs, Naomi regularly entertains as a passionate speaker inspiring people on employer branding, engagement and reward and recognition. Naomi writes a blogand is a published author – and has received many accolades and awards for the business she founded – RedBalloon.com.au.

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