With the 100 year anniversary of International Women’s Day just around the corner, there is plenty of coverage being extended to women’s issues. Interestingly however I couldn’t help but notice that the Weekend Australian’s “Women in Leadership” sponsored four page report, whilst valiantly addressing some of the issues in business which make it difficult for women to progress to leadership positions, made no reference whatsoever to what is probably the key issue which prevents most womens’ (and after the recent resignation of David Bartlett, the Tasmanian Premier for “family reasons”, some mens’) progress in business – the demands of motherhood and family life.
How any serious debate about women in leadership can be undertaken without at least a reference to the general incompatibility between family responsibilities and business leadership roles and possible ways in which this can be addressed is beyond me. Unless we as a society undertake a serious shift in the way we approach these two roles, women and many men will continue to be excluded from leadership positions. The key concern with this of course is the potential exclusion of people, men and women, who have family responsibilities from leadership roles. One must ask the question whether this leads us to a position where family issues have little representation in our society except as a “minority” issue.
Oh…and the other interesting feature about the Weekend Australian’s Four Page Report was that one full page was an ad by the main sponsor ANZ…a bit cheeky to call it a four page report really!!