A new report shows very slow progress toward a gender balance in corporate leadership.

According to the 2019 Chief Executive Women (CEW) ASX200 Senior Executive Census, women now make up 25 per cent of executive leadership teams in ASX200 companies, up from 23 per cent in 2018.

But things are not necessarily moving forward.

“With few exceptions, progress towards gender balance at the executive level is slow, and at the very top it has gone backwards,” says CEW president Sue Morgan.

“12 CEO roles are held by women across the ASX200, down from 14 in 2018. And of the 25 new CEOs appointed over the past year, only 2 were women, and 23 were men.

“Across the ASX200, more women at the CEO level is essential for ensuring gender balance in all other key leadership positions, such as COO or Group Executive.

“While it is a small sample, the Census indicates that companies with a woman CEO have greater gender balance in their line roles compared to companies led by a man.

“The 2019 Census reveals encouraging progress at the CFO level, a highly influential and important role in all ASX200 companies. The number of women CFOs has almost doubled since the Census began three years ago, from 17 in 2017 to 32 in 2019.”

“There are still 17 of Australia’s largest listed companies that have no women on their ELT.

“Isn’t it absurd that in 2019, 17 companies have yet to appoint at least one woman to their leadership team from within their own organisation,” she said.

The full report is available in PDF form, here.