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Glass ceiling still concerns

WOMEN still face problems in the workplace, particularly in business.

They are not given the same opportunities as male colleagues, do not have wage parity and are most affected by changing employment patterns.

The “glass ceiling” still exists.

That is the opinion of Professor Leonie Still, from the University of Western Australia and director of the new Centre for Women and Business.

The centre was launched as part of the University’s Graduate School of Management on June 22 and is the first specialist research centre in Australia devoted to women in business and management.

Prof. Still said while there had been a shift in attitudes toward women in business, problems remained.

She said the centre would be a focal point for research into problems surrounding women in management and small business which until now had been spasmodic.

“It will assist business, small business and the corporate world to understand the issues involved in changing cultures and incorporating diversity in management,’’ she said.

Problems encountered by women included difficulty building careers as more full-time jobs become part-time, working in a male-dominated culture and not being given the same promotion opportunities based on merit as men.

Prof. Still said a common result was that women left corporate companies, which in some cases had invested heavily in them, to start their own business.

She said there was still a degree of cynicism about research into the area.

“A lot of people don’t think these issues exist.”

Her work into the topic since the 1980s, which has produced eight major publications, has convinced her that they do.

The centre will research five projects - call centres and their career outcomes for women (95 per cent of the workforce are women), men and women as small business operators in WA, stress within managers in WA, a case study of the careers of the 700 MBA graduates during the past 25 years and generational changes in management.

The centre’s five academics will be assisted by a number of associate members throughout the world to provide comparative research and cross culture work.

Issues associated with women on company boards will be the theme of an address by Telstra Corporation director Elizabeth Nosworthy at a lunch hosted by the WA Division of the Australian Institute of Company Directors today.

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