Gayle Peterson, co-program director of Women Transforming Leadership at Said Business School at the University of Oxford, wrote in The Australian that organisations must seek to mentor promising female candidates.
She also called for more leadership training in areas such as ICT, where there has traditionally been a high gender imbalance.
“We know that women have powerful skills and abilities but that to shatter glass ceilings, they will need more than just a can-do attitude,” she said.
“We need to provide women around the world with deliberate, positive support to break down barriers and become the leaders we so urgently need if we are to solve our increasingly complex problems successfully and sustainably.”
Ms Peterson noted that there are opportunities to facilitate leadership development at every phase of a woman’s economically productive life, whether this is employment and entrepreneurship or financial security and management.
Women must also be given access to important workplace networks that promote innovation and creativity, she added.
Citing the 2012 Australian Census of Women in Leadership, the academic claimed female senior management is in a period of stagnation, largely because women are under-represented in the leadership pipeline.
“To develop these leaders, policy-makers, society and private companies alike must work to support women’s economic empowerment lifecycle at all stages, beginning early and reinforcing often,” Ms Peterson said.
Despite this, recent statistics from the National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling at the University of Canberra and AMP revealed that an increasing percentage of women are now the main breadwinners in Australian households.
Women were shown to excel in the global financial crisis, with the number of females who earned more than their male living companions climbing from 22 to 24 per cent across all income levels.