Handbook of Gendered Careers in Management
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Handbook of Gendered Careers in Management

Getting In, Getting On, Getting Out

Edited by Adelina M. Broadbridge and Sandra L. Fielden

Handbook of Gendered Careers in Management provides an international overview of current practice and theory surrounding gendered employment in management, illustrating the impact of gender on key stages of career development.
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Chapter 20: Women on boards in Australia: achieving real change or more of the same?

Alison Sheridan, Anne Ross-Smith and Linley Lord


Board roles are often framed as the ultimate career achievement for ‘successful’ corporate leaders (Stern and Westphal, 2010). Women’s limited access to the most senior levels of organizations, including the board level, is well recognized internationally (Davies et al., 2011; Deloitte, 2011) and responses to women’s under-representation differ across countries. The governments of Iceland, Israel, Norway and Spain have opted to legislate for women’s representation on boards, to varying degrees and with varying timelines for compliance (Catalyst, 2012; GovernanceMetrics Int ernational, 2013). Other countries, such as Sweden, Finland, the UK and the USA, have elected to take a more ‘hands off’ approach, with efforts to increase women’s access to boards focusing more on self-regulation than government intervention. Following a surge in calls for quotas to be applied in Australian boardrooms in 2009 (Broderick, 2009; Fox, 2013), it is this more self-regulatory approach that has been followed in Australia.

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