Women in Leadership: Understanding the gender gap (2013)



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This 2013 report provides recommendations on closing the gender gap including enabling workplace meritocracies, changing workplace culture and engaging leaders and introducing accountability.

CEDA's policy perspective Women in Leadership: Understanding the gender gap was released in June 2013. In this report, experts examine why a gender gap still prevails in Australia and what barriers we face in achieving gender equity.

The report provides recommendations on closing the gender gap including enabling workplace meritocracies, changing workplace culture and engaging leaders and introducing accountability.

Download report - Women in Leadership: Understanding the gender gap (pdf)

Read media release - CEDA survey finds many women discriminated against in the workplace

Read opinion piece - Why we need more men in the gender equity debate

In 2013,CEDA surveyed 600 people from the business community, primarily its members and past Women in Leadershipevent attendees to help identify current barriers to equality of opportunity. The survey foundmore than 50 per cent of respondents, predominantly women, have been discriminated against on the basis of gender in the workplace.

The survey results, which form part of CEDA's research report Women in Leadership: Understanding the gender gap, also found that 93.2 per cent of respondents believe barriers to equality in the workplace exist.

Read survey results

This research explores the business, economic and cultural aspects of Women in Leadership, including:

  • Barriers to equality of opportunity in the workforce;
  • Unconscious bias and the consequences to women in the workforce;
  • Implications of the current tax and transfer system and its effect on the female participation rate;
  • Financial and social outcomes for women;
  • The impact of societal expectations and culture on women's choices;
  • Personal experiences of women in the workforce throughout their career;
  • Barriers women face to progression into leadership roles;
  • Empirical evidence and policies of how to narrow the gender gap; and
  • The business case for diversity and the way forward for organisations.


Report chapters and authors

The higher you go, the wider the gap

Catherine Fox

Increasing gender diversity through targets with teeth

Dr Jennifer Whelan and Professor Robert Wood

The financial impact of welfare, tax and childcare arrangements

Professor Peter Whiteford

The barriers to equality of opportunity in the workforce: The role of unconscious bias

Dr Jennifer Whelan

The young and the restless: Gen Y and the 21st century barriers to women in leadership

Holly Ransom

Succeeding in work across the life course

Associate Professor Elizabeth Brooke, Dr Deborah Towns and Professor Nita Cherry

Understanding the changing role of women in society

Liz Ritchie

Diversity and Gender: Realities for growth in the global economy

Dr Hannah Piterman

Women in Leadership events

In addition to releasing the policy perspective,  Women in Leadership: Understanding the gender gap, CEDA also held events around the country as part of CEDA's 2013 policy focus on Women in Leadership.

Brisbane - Wednesday, 12 June 2013

Adelaide - Thursday, 13 June 2013

Canberra - Friday, 14 June 2013

Hobart - Friday, 21 June 2013

Melbourne - Friday, 16 August 2013

Past research 

In 2011, CEDA released Women in Leadership: Looking Below the Surface a report that examines unconscious bias against women in the workplace.

CEDA Chief Executive Professor the Hon. Stephen Martin said the report aimed to provide the facts and figures that provide a business case for resolving gender equity issues, while also highlighting some of the underlying unconscious biases that exist that are often unspoken and are hindering change.

Download report - Women in Leadership: Looking Below the Surface