Women need role models not targets to get to the top

| November 11, 2010

Women need mentors not gender targets to improve their numbers at senior management level, according to a group of top-performing businesswomen.

Almost three quarters of respondents to a survey of winners and finalists in the 2010 Telstra Business Women’s Awards said mentoring programs for talented young women were vital for greater gender equality.

Only 15 per cent favoured quotas in the hiring, retaining or development of women as an initiative to improve gender equality.

It comes as the ASX prepares to enforce new gender diversity rules.

From January listed companies will be required to set gender diversity targets for their workforce and report on progress.

The Commonwealth Bank and Westpac are among the corporations which have implemented gender quotas in response to the incoming guidelines.



  1. Avatar

    Lindsay Cohen

    November 30, 2010 at 12:59 am

    Mentors available in NSW

    Industry & Investment NSW run a Women in Business mentoring program.

    The Program offers an empowering environment where women feel comfortable to discuss their business issues and offer solutions to each other. The networking and peer support that is created during the Program often continues after the Program has completed. 

    The program includes workshops covering 15 or more hours of interactive sessions and business mentoring where participants are matched with an experienced volunteer business mentor who offers 10 hours of mentoring and an opportunity to discuss any business issues you may be facing. Mentoring may be face to face, group, or online.

    For more information visit http://www.smallbiz.nsw.gov.au/mentoring.

    • Avatar

      Catherine Kalish

      May 30, 2011 at 10:52 am

      Hi Lindsay, I was wondering
      Hi Lindsay, I was wondering whether Industry and Investment had any programs specifically supporting Medium sized as opposed to Small business, in NSW.
      Thanks for you previous comment. I really appreciate it.

  2. Avatar

    Kate Williamson

    November 24, 2010 at 12:57 am

    Quotas not always attractive

    The benefits of mentoring go without saying. Although as Catherine mentioned to find a good mentor takes effort.  Sometimes it is not easy to factor this into a busy work week.  Quota systems, whilst not attractive because they are in conflict with merit based systems, is an obvious way to achieve gender quality at board level.  There is a strong case for quotas when existing work place culture inhibits women moving forward in their career, particularly when they choose to take time out. I am not sure how mentoring can help when a clear counter-culture for career breaks exists.  It would be great to hear from First 5000 members whether taking career breaks impacts on career progression, or is this a idea a thing of the past?       

  3. Avatar

    Catherine Fritz-Kalish

    November 16, 2010 at 2:33 am

    mentoring women

    I couldn't agree more. Mentors are hugely important and they are not easy to find. Speaking from personal experience, I would feel more confident in the direction I was heading if I had someone ahead of me showing me that it could be done and guiding me in ways to do it. Mentoring takes a lot of time and energy and with many women taking on the responsibility of earning a living, maintaining a home and a family, being a mentor on top of that is often too much to handle despite their wish to be involved with guiding women in business in Australia. More support should be given to mentoring women.