Her appointment has met with almost universal approval. While her CV has been published, and commented on by the media, there has been much more made of the fact that she will be the first woman to be Governor General or Australia.
On the basis of her CV, she is certainl yan appropriate appointment.
Why, then, is it necessary for so many to concentrate on her gender? Does Australia have such a poor record of appointing women to very senior ranks in Government, and in business?
Perhaps governments have been more successful in having women leaders. There have been women Lord Mayors, Premiers, Deputy Premiers and Julia Gillard is currently Deputy Prime Minister. Business is dragging the chain. The Australian newspaper (22-Aug-2007) cited a EOWA survey as follows:
"The EOWA study shows that women make up 12 per cent of executive management
positions in Australia -- a smidgen up from 11.4 per cent in the 2004 survey.
The survey showed that almost 40 per cent of companies surveyed had no women
Comparing Australia to other countries, in 2005:
- Australia - less than 8% of company board members were women (womenonboards.org.au)
- Norway - 21%, Sweden - 20%, and Sweden, Estonia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Finland, UK, Latvia, Germany, Lithuania, Hungary, Denmark, Slovakia, Czech Republic, Greece and Poland (Handbook on Women in Business and Management By Diana Bilimoria, Bilimoria, Sandy Kristin Piderit, Piderit, Inc NetLibrary)
Perhaps Quentin Bryce, as Governor General, will provide a suitable role model for business, and the community. Business also seems to need new, effective, affirmative action plans. They just might help their profits.