Women In Power

Why so few women on The Power Index?

Very few women have featured on The Power Index. Of the 130 spots available on the 13 power lists we've published so far, just 16 of them have been filled by women. That's a meagre 12%.

Needless to say, this dramatic gender imbalance has stirred a number of concerns and complaints from readers.

The concerns are warranted. The complaints are not.

Some suggest we should make it a rule to simply include more women.

Perhaps we should extend our search to come up with a greater pool of female candidates.

Perhaps we should change our definition of power.

Perhaps we should have self-imposed list quotas, say a 30% rule that assures at least three women make the Top 10 for each list.

But to do any of this would hide the stark reality. Some women wield real power -- look no further than PM Julia Gillard --  but in many fields a dramatic gender imbalance still exists.

And while there has been some great progress in getting women into senior positions, including improvements regarding the number of women on ASX-listed boards, such achievements do not automatically grant women a greater say in determining how this country is run.

We should be confronted by the fact the gender divide is so great when it comes to power.

But here at The Power Index, we're not going to pretend this isn't the case. We're not going to insert women into our top ten lists just because we think that's the right thing to do. Or because we think readers will be happy to see a couple of female faces amongst the usual pool of white, middle-aged men.

We're not going to do any of that because that's just not the way it is.

What do you think? Have your say below.

This week, we'll be publishing a number of special features on women in power, including a list of Australia's most powerful women on Thursday to mark International Women's Day.

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