Do women have to make hard choices to get ahead?

Wednesday, February 18, 2015 - 12:09

Guest post by AIM CEO Daniel Musson

Although we are passionate advocates for women in leadership roles here at AIM we still realise there is no silver bullet for resolving the issues that prevent women from achieving equal footing in boardroom and senior executive roles. Many companies have introduced quota systems for their boards which, while being commendable initiatives, don’t get to the root of the problem.

Diverse perspectives have been proven to provide superior solutions to organisational challenges which is why there is potential benefit to prescribed gender diversity in an organisation.

Most people would prefer for senior roles to be rewarded on merit, the female senior executives and board members at AIM included, however the fact remains that there are barriers seen and unseen preventing women from doing so. While discriminating against an individual based on their gender, race or religion is considered repugnant to nearly everyone in today’s society, discrimination isn’t always easily visible and often rears its head in unseen and insidious forms.

The recruitment and selection process in a busy bureaucracy can often force instant decisions to be made when two applicants are indistinguishable from each other in ability, skills and qualifications. It is impossible to quantify what factor gender plays in the applicant selection process but few would argue that bias does not exist in at least some of these decisions.

The Bank of Queensland last year made a bold move to eliminate potential unconscious biases from their selection processes for senior positions by removing all identifying information such as gender and age from their application process. I commend my colleagues at BOQ for such a brave and innovative policy as it is initiatives like these that bring much needed awareness to this issue.

At AIM we have a number of initiatives that champion women in leadership roles and we hope that through our involvement in such programs we can continue to spotlight the factors that hinder the progression of female leaders. One of our flagship events is our upcoming International Women’s Day Debate which has been held in front of sell-out crowds in Brisbane for the past 18 years and will also be held in Sydney and Melbourne for the first time this year on March 4.

With a host of well-known and respected CEOs, industry leaders and media identities making up the debating teams in each city, the debating topic for 2015 is “Do women have to make hard choices to get ahead?” With debaters such as author and journalist Jane Caro, Australian Women’s Weekly Editor Bryce Corbett and television personalities Gretel Killeen and Em Rusciano on hand to MC the proceedings, these are shaping up as not to be missed events on the business calendar.

I encourage you to secure a table and make the most of what promises to be an entertaining event by visiting -