Global recession weakens women power

Published by rudy Date posted on April 3, 2011

Number of women holding top posts down, study says

MANILA, Philippines-The recent global economic recession that felled financial giants across the globe has also affected the proportion of women holding key positions in senior management.

According to the 2011 Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR), women currently hold 20 percent of senior management positions globally, a drop from 24 percent in 2009 and up by just one percent from 2004.

The Philippines followed a similar downward trend, with the proportion of women in senior management dropping significantly from 47 percent in 2009 to the current 35 percent.

Smallest percentage

This is the smallest percentage ever recorded by the IBR for the Philippines since it started tracking women in senior posts in 2004.

This year also marks the Philippines’ lowest ranking in the country table at 5th place, behind Thailand, Georgia, Russia and Hong Kong.

“Generally speaking, when a recession hits and one parent has to sacrifice his or her job or career, it will likely be the lower-paid one. And unfortunately, in many countries, women are still getting paid less for doing the same work as men,” says Mia Sigue-Bisnar, partner of Audit and Assurance Division and head of the Markets group at Punongbayan & Araullo (P&A).

The firm is a member of Grant Thornton.

In 2004, the Philippines came second only to Russia in terms of economies with the highest percentage of women in leadership positions. And in 2007 and 2009, the Philippines led countries surveyed with women holding 50 percent and 47 percent, respectively, of top management positions.

“Perhaps the financial crisis is partly to blame for the drop in our ranking,” Bisnar says in a statement.

Far ahead

The Philippines, however, is still far ahead of other countries.

The report shows that in the world’s richest countries—United States, Japan, Germany, France, United Kingdom, Italy and France—only 16 percent of women hold senior roles while, regionally, Asia-Pacific (excluding Japan) scores highest with 27 percent.

In the Philippines, the research shows that a little over half of the women who hold key senior management positions are in finance, with titles such as Finance Director and Chief Finance Officer.

Globally, only 22 percent of women are appointed to similar management roles.

Bisnar considers this development as a positive one.

“It’s a good sign that women are finding their way to these leadership posts. It shows that their decision-making skills and their integrity are valued in a professional setting,” she says.

Fortunate women

She also points out that the women in the Philippines are fortunate to have a strong family network to support them in their quest to pursue top posts such as CFO.

IBR conducted the research primarily by telephone interview lasting approximately 15 minutes with each respondent.

For the Philippines, the interview was conducted face to face with each respondent who meets the profile criteria.

Target respondents are chief executive officers, managing directors, chairmen or other senior executives from 39 economies. –Vanessa Hidalgo, Philippine Daily Inquirer

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