There’s been a lot of hoo-ha this week about the lack of women in senior positions at Australia’s top companies following new research showing women going sideways when it comes to company board representation.
But what the main stream media has missed is that the small end of town is actually attracting a grwoing female contingent at the top level.
While there are just 12 women running the show at Australia's top 200 companies, small business is increasingly the domain of commercially focused females.
Yolanda Vega, head of the Australian Women Chamber of Commerce and Industry, says the number of women sick of the corporate glass ceiling and striking it out alone has jumped significantly.
“Over the past ten years we’ve seen this lack of women going up. But at the same time if we look at data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, that illustrates that over the past 10 years the number of women sole traders has gone up by 24.6%, while for men its gone up just 1%,” Vega says.
“Women are tired of the corporate environment because it doesn’t provide flexibility, and they today have the ability to walk out, leave their employer behind and start up their own business. And that’s exactly what we’re seeing happening.”
And with financial research showing companies with a feminine touch outperforming others, the small business community is definitely on the right track.
According to a study by Pepperdine University, businesses with more women in leadership roles report up to 69% higher financial results than those with fewer women leaders.
Collaborating this finding is research from Credit Suisse that shows companies with women on their boards out-perform those with all-male boards.
These results are being lapped up the small business scene, yet across the board Australian businesses are still failing to promote more women, even outside director level.
According to the 2012 Grant Thornton International Business Report, Australian women hold just 24% of senior management positions. This is better than the global average of 21%, but still a serious imbalance.
And it’s not for lack of numbers, with that same study also finding that there’s no clear relationship between the number of women in the workforce and the number in senior management positions.
While this clear disparity between the sexes in the big corporate world is concerning, we can take heart from the fantastic Australian mumpreneurs picking up some of the slack in small business.
Just another reason we love it.
Are you a woman in business? Come tell us why you struck out on your own!