If You're Hitting A Glass Ceiling In Australia You Can Blame The Country's Convict Past

Westpac CEO Gail Kelly.

In Australia the number of women in high level positions, on boards or in politics is few.

But two economists from the University of NSW, Pauline Grosjean and Rose Khattar, may have figured out why Australian women keep hitting a glass ceiling.

The study, called It’s Raining Men! Hallelujah? blames Australia’s convict past for the lack of female representation at the big end of business.

Why? Well for almost 100 years after the First Fleet landed in 1788, the SMH reports an estimated 157,000 convicts were shipped Down Under. Only about 16% of those prisoners were female.

The disproportionately high ratio of men to women can have strange ramifications on society. You only have to look at the results of China’s one child policy for a modern day example.

History shows that where men outnumber women in society, women are more likely to marry up the ranks.

In the parts of Australia where the ratio was the most out of whack, women were more likely to get married and not work.

The latest study on this theory shows the differences are still lingering today, specifically in the areas where gender imbalances were most prolific.

Females in those postcodes today are still less likely to be working in high-paid, glass ceiling shattering jobs, the research found.

“Historical gender imbalance still explains 5 to 10 per cent of the variation in the glass ceiling effect,” the study said.

There’s more here.

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