This bibliography is a quick reference of abstracts on ways to improve women’s career paths within organisations. We have referenced 117 items, organised them into seven topic areas, and provided a brief summary of each item. Articles covering more than one topic have been included in each relevant area.

Building on the research used on Realising the opportunity, we have included other papers which contained significant data or analysis. We have also added in reports which contain concrete proposals for action or recommendations, and information on New Zealand.

We hope Inspiring Action will make it easier for human resources practitioners and managers, Chief Executive Officers and leadership teams, to identify practical steps to take to improve women’s career pathways in organisations. To find articles, use the search function below or download the full report.

2014
Area of focus:
Data Story, New Zealand
A review by the Human Rights Commission of equal employment opportunity (EEO) outcomes in the workforce of 29 public service departments, among the four groups of women, Maori, ethnic minorities and people with disabilities.The public service is found to have a higher proportion of women in its workforce (60 percent) than New Zealand’s general population, but lower representation within senior management (at 41 percent); the gender pay gap is also slightly higher (14 percent) in the public sector than the workforce average.Five departments are profiled that have excelled in EEO practice, including the Department of Corrections where women make up 44 percent of the workforce and 51 percent of senior management.Perceptions of merit in recruitment may differ based on the belief systems of an organisation; organisations which believe they operate a "level playing field" may be ignoring capable candidates (such as women and Maori) who are reluctant to apply for roles. The report finds there is little reportage of EEO programmes in the departments, and it is unlikely these metrics are being used to inform Human Resource practice. Ten recommendations are made to enhance EEO within the sector.
2013
Area of focus:
Business Case, Data Story, New Zealand
This study explores the changing gender diversity trends on New Zealand corporate governance boards.A literature review presents domestic and international governance diversity statistics, as well as a thorough summary of the research into the commercial benefits of board diversity and the identified barriers and solutions (on both the supply and demand sides) to achieving it.A longitudinal examination of the gender diversity of companies in the NZX Top 50, from 2003 to 2013, finds that gender diversity is slowly improving with female representation rising from 8 percent in 2003 to 16 percent in 2013; however it is estimated it will take 21 years to reach a critical mass of 30 percent female membership. Existing initiatives to improve governance gender diversity and enablers of progress for companies and for individual women are described.
2014
Area of focus:
Action
A study by a Canadian non-government organisation into the measurement of organisational diversity and inclusion initiatives. A research review summarises the necessity of measuring initiatives and presents a range of models and types of measurement. Surveying 56 Canadian organisations, the study found that while diversity and inclusion was a strategic initiative within almost 80 percent, only 18.8 percent measured the impact or return on investment of these initiatives.Popular measures included participation rates at diversity programmes, representation of diversity groups on boards and senior management, results from employee engagement surveys and programme efficacy measures. Interviews with diversity managers were undertaken and highlight other possible measures such as employment statistics by demographic groups, and the number of human rights or harassment complaints received. Issues and examples of best practice in measurement are discussed, and a toolkit is provided with recommendations for implementing and improving measurement initiatives.
2014
Area of focus:
Action, Leadership, Unconscious Bias
A comprehensive policy perspective document prepared by an Australian non-government organisation, examining the gap between the genders in workforce participation and representation at senior levels.In eight chapters, from a variety of authors, it discusses: the barriers and issues faced by women on the way to senior leadership; the argued benefits of prescriptive targets with accountability and reward frameworks, over legislated quotas; the financial impact of Australia's current welfare, tax and childcare arrangements for working mothers; issues of unconscious bias and the social construction of gender; career barriers specific to older women; and issues faced by the emerging generation of young women in the workforce.Detailed case studies are included of a company which has instituted onsite childcare to support working parents, and of a delivery firm which has undertaken a nation-wide initiative to change the gender demographics of its frontline operations staff. Results are presented from a survey of the business community, including suggested actions for improving women's representation, and accounts of respondent’s positive and negative experiences within their work roles.
2014
Area of focus:
Action, Data Story, Flexible Working
The fourth in a series of white papers on women's careers, this report presents the results of a survey of 3,000 managerial staff in the United States and United Kingdom, based on IBM's 11 factor Career Progression Framework.The factors measured for each gender include: career progression, by age group; intention to leave one's current role, by gender and age; the top factors underlying promotion, career satisfaction and intention to leave one's role for both women and men; work-life factors such as parenting, division of childcare labour and housework, and reported satisfaction with these arrangements; and use of flexible working arrangements.Satisfaction with career progression and work-life balance were found to be the highest indicators of staff retention. Use of flexible working arrangements is linked with an improved sense of work-life balance for both men and women, as was equal sharing of labour at home. Men were more satisfied with their career progression and received more promotions than women. The top factors underlying women's successful promotion were attaining critical job assignments, networking and seeking opportunities. The report concludes with seven recommended actions for organisations to improve women's career progression.
2014
Area of focus:
Business Case
This paper presents a business case for women's improved career progression within organisations, across the four quadrants of organisational performance, growth and innovation, customer orientation, and internal processes. It presents new research which finds that employees working in environments with high levels of diversity and inclusion are three times more confident in their organisation's ability to perform, are three times more engaged, and half as likely to leave their jobs.A survey of a wide range of CEOs from around the world finds that business leaders believe the traditional hierarchical management paradigm is being replaced by a modern paradigm based on innovation, connection and engagement. Research is cited which suggests that women are more likely to exhibit a democratic, participatory management style which conforms to this paradigm; employing more women in senior management is also necessary to address the growing proportion of buying decisions being made by female consumers.Eleven factors across three levels are identified which influence women's progression within the organisation, with those most relevant to promotion being networking, actively seeking opportunities and being selected for critical job assignments. The paper concludes with nine practical recommendations for organisations to increase gender diversity in their senior management.
2014
Area of focus:
Action
Building on previous action plans published by these initiatives, this brief paper is based on the "Leadership Shadow" model and considers how the example set by senior management impacts on the organisation as a whole.Female chief executives and male business leaders share their experience in effecting change in gender diversity within their organisations. Actions are grouped by four principles: "What I Say" includes promotion of the business case, delivering the message to staff and celebrating progress; "How I Act" includes role modelling, building teams to critical mass of women, and calling out counteractive behaviour; "What I Prioritise" includes engagement of leadership, recruitment and promotion decisions and championing flexible work arrangements for both sexes; and "How I Measure" covers setting targets and accountability, and receiving feedback on one's own leadership shadow.
2010
Area of focus:
Flexible Working, New Zealand
In 2008 new legislation allowed employees with caring responsibilities the right to request flexible working arrangements; similar legislation exists in the United Kingdom, Northern Ireland and Australia. This literature review was commissioned by the National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women (NACEW) to inform a review of this legislation, and summarises the research published between 2005 and 2010 on flexible working arrangements as they exist in the UK, Ireland, Australia, Canada and New Zealand.Approaches taken by the different countries are examined, including the underlying policy intent of legislation, the benefits of and barriers to flexible work from both an employee and business perspective, the impact of the legislation, and the policy debates surrounding flexible work. Amongst other trends, it finds that flexible work arrangements exist in 90% of UK workplaces and a majority of employers consider them beneficial, and that incidence of informal agreements between staff and their employers are more common than formally negotiated arrangements.Debate exists around whether only offering flexible work options to certain employees (such as carers) is fair; it may also entrench gender divisions within the workplace. Some researchers feel it may usefully be extended to consider other employee groups, such as the ageing workforce.
2013
Area of focus:
Action, Business Case
This report by a management consultancy firm argues that much of the current thinking on gender diversity has misdiagnosed the problem. An organisation's people are argued to be its primary source of value and profitability; recent research has found that companies with more women within top level leadership have a higher return on investment. 70 percent of purchasing decisions in Europe are made by women, and Hay Group's own research has found that companies with engaged employees enjoy significantly higher revenue growth.The most common treatments for diversity gaps are discussed, including flexible working, career breaks and women's networks, however these are not seen to be effective in creating change. It is argued that that the under-representation of women in senior management should be framed not as a women's issue, but rather as an indicator that the 20th century's model of work (characterised as hierarchical and relying on coercive management styles) is outmoded and does not address the realities of the 21st century. Employees will not become engaged if they don't agree with or dislike an organisation's business model.The paper provides 13 brief recommendations for change based on the examples set by high-achieving companies; these include thinking outside rigid role descriptions, rethinking of career path models, and welcoming a greater diversity of thought within companies.
2014
Area of focus:
Action, Business Case, Unconscious Bias
This speech was delivered by the Secretary to Treasury to an audience of the Trans-Tasman Business circle. It highlights the rapidly increasing ethnic diversity of New Zealand, e.g., 40 percent of people living in Auckland were not born in New Zealand. Technology is also identified as a factor in an increasing pace of change.It is argued that greater diversity is needed to respond to this changing policy and business landscape. Research has shown a greater number of women on boards is linked to improved performance. Lack of diversity is due not to a lack of openness to people and new ideas, but rather to unconscious bias. Three main ways are identified to overcome this: seeking wider perspectives, employing people from diverse backgrounds and ensuring leadership creates inclusive workplace cultures.

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