Kathleen Conlon, non-executive director on the boards of CSR, Lynas and REA Group(left) and Barclays' Chief Executive Cynthia Whelan (right)

Recent statistics show the discussion around women in senior executive positions isn’t dying down anytime soon, especially in Australia.

 

This week, Bloomberg teamed with Chief Executive Women (CEW) to facilitate dialogue among some of Australia’s most influential women in finance and business.( CEW is a member-based organisation that aims to facilitate greater representation of women at senior levels of Australian business, government and the not-for-profit sectors.)

 

 

 

Australia has the lowest percentage of female executives compared to countries with similar governance structures, and increasingly there is a huge dropout in the talent pipeline of women between the ages of 23-44. The 2012 Census of Australian Women in Leadership shows that two thirds of the 500 biggest publicly listed Australian companies have no female executives and only 12 have a female CEO.

The gathering took place in Bloomberg’s Sydney office where Barclays’ Chief Executive Cynthia Whelan, ANZ’s Managing Director Cathryn Carver, Commonwealth Bank of Australia’s Treasurer Lyn Cobley, and UBS’ Liz Cacciottolo all shared their personal stories, and spoke passionately about the business case for supporting women to stay on the executive track.

Cynthia Whelan said that there are three characteristics crucial to rise to the top of the corporate world: tenacity, resilience, and strong communications skills. Being a woman in finance for over 20 years myself, it was great to be involved in an event with such an impressive panel of successful women sharing their stories, experience and tips to encourage other women to pursue their careers in banking and finance.

The challenge is clear and one we are supporting globally.

 

 

Amanda Dobbie, Head of Sales for Australia & New Zealand