Back as part of the International Women’s Day festivities, Tony Abbott, speaking at an event in Canberra on Tuesday to mark the upcoming International Women’s Day, declared that while we still have some work to do Australia is a nation which has just about “smashed every glass ceiling”.
“If you look at our country and the deal that it gives to women; it is obviously pretty good,” he said. “It wasn’t so long ago as a Sydneysider that there was a female lord mayor, a female premier, a female prime minister, a female head of state in our governor general, a female monarch, obviously, and indeed the richest person in our country was female.”
So what do the statistics say? Handily as part of the same festivities, the Economist put together a glass ceiling index, picking up some key statistics and ranking countries on that basis. The economist gives Australia a score of 56.6 out of a possible 100, slightly better than the OECD average of 53.8, but nowhere near the top country, Norway, at 78.7 (here is one example of why). Interestingly, NZ is way better than us, with a score of 69.4.
You can play around with the different factors, to see if you can improve your country’s ranking. The highest I can get Australia is 4th – if the only thing that matters is our female share of senior managers, where Australia has 36.7% (not women on Boards, or in parliament, where we rank much worse).
So, the deal women get in Australia is pretty good, but we come 16th out of the 27 OECD countries the Economist measured – I think the glass ceiling is cracked, not smashed.