There is a long history of awareness and activism regarding women’s rights in the countries of New Zealand and Australia.With this track record, it would seem likely that these countries should shine as a beacon for issues on equality.Unfortunately if you look at the real facts, you’ll see a very different picture.
The sad truth is that women in these two countries often have less opportunities that Asian women in the region.There are worse areas for women in the workplace though. In Japan and Korea for example there are very rigid male structures which block female careers at every turn. That’s said there are surprisingly similar issues in Australia and New Zealand, which outsiders may find difficult to believe.
The sad fact is that over 68% of women believe that they have less opportunities than men in Australian and New Zealand. Amazingly that figure is more than reported in India and China, plus over twice as high as reported by South East Asia.Maybe it’s because of different perceptions but only 17% of women in South East Asia felt they had missed out on employment opportunities because of their gender.
Whereas that figure was more than 40% in Australia and New Zealand.There is a further issue that these inequality problems are reflected in the number of women who occupy positions in leadership and government.You only have to look at the women in CEO positions in the different areas. Most of these surveys looked at industries such as media and marketing where traditionally these inequalities are expected to be smaller. Employers are often reported to be much more progressive as reported in the news and media organisations like the BBC seen here.
In South East Asia, in a recent survey nearly 40% reported having worked for a female CEO. That figure was much lower in Australia and New Zealand something like 18%.Some say that Australian women have become used to offices and meetings which are dominated by men.
Whilst the sheer depth of workplace inequality acts as an erosion to the women’s real ambitions in the workplace.The same surveys report that less than 70% of women there want the top job in their sector compared with nearly 90% average for the Asian Pacific women.
There is an obvious lesson here that countries in South-East Asia are leading the way in gender equality particularly in certain industries .Governments and industry should look to see why these huge differences exist and why the women in these areas are much more empowered than Australians.