The Case for Change


Despite hard won gains, at the current glacial rate of progress, the World Economic Forum has calculated that if we continue to improve at the current rate, closing the global gender gap will take 99.5 years. In East Asia and the Pacific, this blows out to 163 years.


  • In 2020, just under 7% of UN member countries had women leaders.
  • 70% of nations have always been led by a man.
  • Only 13 countries have had more than one woman leader. No country has ever had four or more women leaders.
  • Despite women’s political representation globally doubling over the last 25 years, three out of every four political decision makers in 2020 were men.
  • While the average proportion of women in parliaments around the world is 24.9%, in Asian countries this drops to 20% and to 19.4% in the Pacific.
  • When women hold ministerial portfolios, these are overwhelmingly in areas traditionally seen as feminine - such as family and children, the elderly, social affairs, culture and women’s affairs. Women are far less likely to hold ministerial portfolios relating to the economy, finance or defence.


  • In Australia, 32.2% of women were on boards in ASX100 companies in 2020. This is up from 11.8% in 2010.
  • Nearly 30% of companies still have no female representation on their Boards, and a similar share have no women in their key management teams.
  • An increase of 10 percentage points or more in the share of female key management personnel leads to a 6.6% increase in the market value of Australian ASX listed companies, worth the equivalent of AUD $104.7 million for the average company.

Gender pay gap

  • In Australia, the national gender pay gap is 14% in 2020. 
  • Australia’s national gender pay gap has hovered between 13.9% and 19% for the past two decades.
  • The gap is highest in the Professional, Scientific and Technical Services industry at 24.1%.

Current efforts to address these problems lack a firm evidence base and are fragmented into silos. 

Organisations spend a huge amount of time and money on gender equality initiatives, but in many areas there is a lack of evidence about what works

Meanwhile there are a huge number of passionate people and committed organisations working in this field, but there isn’t a broad, strong network that unites them

And learning from one country is not picked up by others.

This makes it difficult to focus resources where they will do most good.

To change this and realise our vision for equality, the Global Institute for Women’s Leadership will…

Strengthen evidence and understand what works
By drawing together existing findings from across sectors, disciplines and countries and by undertaking new solutions-focussed research

Translate solutions into action
By building feedback loops between research, policy and practice to make sure that precious time and resource is spent on effective interventions

Break down silos to build a global community
By acting as a hub for academics, policymakers and activists around the world to network and share findings

So join our network to be part of finding and sharing the best solutions

We are looking to partner with academic, activist, private and policymaking organisations who are interested in building a cross-disciplinary, cross-sectoral and global community focused on what works

Sign up to the mailing list to stay in touch, and to find out about events and opportunities to contribute

» Join our network

Image gallery

Updated:  4 March 2021/Responsible Officer:  Director/Page Contact:  Website Administrator