Australia’s top companies lack women in the most senior job roles, new official figures suggest.
The Australian Bureau of Statistics Gender Indicators data found there were just seven female chief executive officers (CEOs) in the top 200 companies in Standard & Poor’s ASX stock market index last year.
This compared with 195 males in similar roles on the ASX 200, which contains some of Australia’s most profitable enterprises, including BHP Billiton, Rio Tinto and Fairfax Media.
In percentage terms, this means women made up 3.5 per cent of CEOs in the index, whereas men constitute 96.5 per cent.
Despite this, the numbers were an improvement on last year, when three per cent of chief execs were females.
The figure was also more than double the 1.3 per cent recorded in 2002, although 2003 was the year with the highest percentage of women leaders at 4.1 per cent.
Data for board director positions showed greater improvements, with 12.3 per cent of these roles in ASX 200 companies being held by women, compared with 8.4 per cent in 2011.
Similarly, 11.5 per cent of executive managers at these organisations are women, while the proportion of firms with at least one female in such a role was 51 per cent last year.
Women fared better in government, but equal representation still fell short of the mark, with 61 per cent of Commonwealth government board positions held by men.
This gap widened for chair and deputy chair roles, with men filling nearly 72 per cent of these seats.
The sector with the least disparity was public services, as 46 per cent of women held executive level manager positions in these organisations, although this slumped to just below 40 per cent for senior executive management roles.