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Why so few women at the top in retail?

Women influence more than 85{7eb6817b57b22be2c65f39f535029d052211a16f8d248212c9b64ecfd775f525} of retail decisions yet very few make it to the top.

Why do you think that is?

In fact when you look at the number of female leaders across the board the numbers are surprising, only 17{7eb6817b57b22be2c65f39f535029d052211a16f8d248212c9b64ecfd775f525} of women are CEOs.

In Australia the number of female leaders is low but at least it’s growing, while in the US the percentage of females in Fortune 500s dropped 4{7eb6817b57b22be2c65f39f535029d052211a16f8d248212c9b64ecfd775f525} this year (according to this article reasons vary). Of the 29 companies that became part of the Fortune 500 in 2016 only one was led by a female.

The recently released AICD Gender Progress Report shows 26{7eb6817b57b22be2c65f39f535029d052211a16f8d248212c9b64ecfd775f525} of ASX 200 companies have 30{7eb6817b57b22be2c65f39f535029d052211a16f8d248212c9b64ecfd775f525} female directors whilst 10{7eb6817b57b22be2c65f39f535029d052211a16f8d248212c9b64ecfd775f525} have no female directors. The gender pay gap is real and while short term this creates a 20{7eb6817b57b22be2c65f39f535029d052211a16f8d248212c9b64ecfd775f525} shortfall in superannuation that impact extends out long term.

Somewhere between getting a job and getting the top jobs, women’s skills and education are not being ‘potentialised’ to use a completely made up word.

That’s bad for a lot of reasons but incongruously for one of the reasons that matters most to companies – productivity.

Diverse workforces perform better financially, if I start hyperlinking all the research I’ll run out of space.

I’ve been thinking a lot about it and have put down some of my thoughts.

  1. Why do you think this is?
  2. What can we do about it?
  3. What can we do about it for the next generation?

I’d love to know your thoughts.

No rose-coloured glasses: a Pink Paper on women in retail leadership.

Rachel Kelly, CEO The Retail Collective, former global CEO of T2Tea

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