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Double jeopardy bars talented culturally diverse women from leading corporate roles - report

07 Sep 2017

Women with culturally diverse backgrounds are being prevented from taking up leadership roles by a “cultural glass ceiling” and Australian business is paying the price, according to aground breaking new report.

The report, titled “Cracking the Glass-Cultural Ceiling: Future Proofing Your Business in the 21st Century”, has been produced by the Diversity Council Australia (DCA)and the University of Sydney Business School.

The report looks at the reasons why so few culturally diverse women reach top leadership positions in Australia and possible solutions to the problem as evidence shows that only two per cent of ASX directors are women with a culturally diverse (non-Anglo-Celtic) background.

“Women from culturally diverse backgrounds face a kind of double jeopardy,” says Dr Dimitria Groutsis, a senior lecturer in Work and Organisational Studies at the Business School.“They are denied leadership roles because they are both female and culturally diverse.”

The report documents the experience of more than 230 women from culturally diverse backgrounds and includes advice for companies wanting to help employees to break through the cultural glass ceiling.

“The insights gained from the women we interviewed point to ways that organisations can crack the cultural ceiling and make sure that culturally diverse women are able to become leaders and role models for future generations,” Dr Groutsis said.

“For example, the deliberate partnering of leaders with emerging leaders from diverse cultural backgrounds can be a very good strategy. It is a leader-led approach to recognising, valuing and including diverse voices in the leadership suite,” she added.

The report has been sponsored by Google,Aurecon, Commonwealth Bank and Deloitte.

For more information, download the infographic, the synopsis report or contact DCA for the members-only full report.