Cracking the Glass-Cultural Ceiling: Workplace discrimination report

Although organisations are increasingly investing in building culturally diverse and gender balanced leadership profiles, culturally diverse women are notably under-represented in leadership ranks.

In Australia and overseas, culturally diverse women experience a ‘double jeopardy’ when accessing leadership roles due to their gender and cultural background. This double jeopardy results in a ‘glass-cultural ceiling’ in which invisible organisational barriers lock out culturally diverse women from accessing leadership positions in their workplaces.

Diversity Council Australia has partnered with the University of Sydney Business School, Google, Aurecon, Commonwealth Bank and Deloitte to release a new report, Cracking the Glass-Cultural Ceiling: Future Proofing Your Business in the 21st Century.

The research comprised an extensive review of international and national research; an on-line survey of 366 female leaders and aspiring leaders from a diversity of backgrounds; four Think Tanks with 54 culturally diverse female leaders and emerging leaders; and 15 individual interviews with culturally diverse women who were in high-profile, very senior roles. The report provides a compelling case for cracking the glass-cultural ceiling.

Australian organisations could better value and leverage the ambition and capabilities of culturally diverse women. Participants in this research reported feeling invisible and undervalued when it comes to leadership opportunities, while others felt they were regarded as ‘high risk’ leadership contenders.

  • Under-Leveraged: Only 15% of participants strongly agreed that their organisation took advantage of workforce diversity to better service clients or access new markets.
  • Under-Valued: While 88% of culturally diverse women planned to advance to a very senior role, only 10% strongly agreed that their leadership traits were recognised or that their opinions were valued and respected.
  • Moving On: One in four culturally diverse women (26%) agreed that cultural barriers in the workplace had caused them to scale back at work (i.e. reduce their ambitions, work fewer hours, not work as hard, and/or consider quitting) and 28% stated it was likely they would seek a job with another employer within the next year.

Read the full report here.

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