Canterbury University School of Law dean, Professor Ursula Cheer, has blasted “relentless bias” causing fewer women to be on boards of directors.
“I think it's a combination of women not being appointed - and that's just a relentless bias that's both acknowledged and isn't - but it's also a case of some women still not putting themselves forward and that can come down to confidence,” the professor told Radio NZ.
She was reacting to data for 2016 showing that on average, just 17% of directors of NZX
-listed firms were women. The publication noted that the ratio was the same for the previous year.
What’s even worse from an equality perspective is that this ratio fell to 13% in the final three months of 2016. Moreover, the dean said that the actual percentage may even be lower as many companies may be inclined to hide the unequal representation on their boards.
The publication noted that the data was based on reports of 125 listed firms.
Professor Cheer also noted that in terms of law students, two-thirds were women while one-third were men.
“That could have a big impact on the profession... which doesn't appear to be prepared or doing much about this,” she told the publication.
“If you look at the structure of a lot of law firms you see mostly men at the top and then mostly female associates.”
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