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Breaking the glass ceiling for women


Kate Ramsay writes: one of the ways we coaches at AnD support our female Leadership Coaching clients is to help them explore ways that they might navigate their way through the so-called glass ceiling that continues to plague organisations in Australia.  This is the name given to the wide range of cultural and systemic things that enables blokes’ careers to progress relatively smoothly while that of women tends to be filled with bumps – this is of course bad for women and for organisations.

Male Champions of Change

Making changes to break down these barriers has been seen as women’s work in my almost 30 years of consulting and coaching experience.  I was therefore thrilled to learn about a relatively new organisation consisting of so called captains of industry who have joined together to look at what they can collectively do to make change.  Called Male Champions of Change, the group includes Ian Watt (head of Prime Minister and Cabinet), Martin Parkinson (head of Treasury), army chief Lieutenant-General David Morrison, Qantas boss Alan Joyce, ASX chief Elmer Funke Kupper, banking heads Ian Narev (Commonwealth) and Mike Smith (ANZ), Telstra’s David Thodey, Simon Rothery from Goldman Sachs, Stephen Roberts from Citi and KPMG’s Geoff Wilson.


At a recent forum in Sydney the group launched a 12-point action plan aimed to increase the numbers of women in their senior ranks.  Included in their plan is the ‘plus one’ initiative that expects their managers to add at least one woman to their teams as roles arise; and if not, they’ll be asking ‘why not?’  Also included is mentoring and sponsorship of talented women, making sure women get ‘hot jobs’, normalising flexible hours, getting managers and recruitment agencies to cast their nets more broadly rather than ‘like hiring like’ and setting and implementing internal goals for better gender balance.



I can only assume that these heavy weights have come to realise that it makes good business sense to select from 100% of the available talent rather than 50%.  Hurray I say and here’s to their resounding success!

How about you?

What’s going on in your organisation?  Do men and women get and equally fair go?


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