Research tracks gender equality among G20 officials

By on 21/01/2016 | Updated on 04/02/2022
Source: EY

Canada has the highest proportion of women amongst its senior civil servants of any G20 member, new research has revealed. The country is followed by Australia, South Africa, and the UK respectively.

The research, carried out by for global consultancy EY, reveals that 46.1% of Canadian senior officials are women. Canada enjoys a substantial six point lead over Australia on 40.1%, which is followed closely by South Africa on 39.8% and the UK on 38.7%.

Examining the proportion of women among senior central government public servants in each of the G20 nations, the research puts Brazil in fifth place on 35.4%, then the USA in sixth on 34%. The European Commission and Italy are tied in second place among the European G20 members, on 32%, whilst France comes in 12th on 28% and Germany 13th on 21%. The G20’s Middle Eastern, Far Eastern and Asian members are concentrated towards the bottom of the table, with Indonesia leading that group in 14th place.

The EY report, which was produced for the consultancy’s UK arm, goes on to examine performance across the British government’s departments of state – where the representation of women varies between 50% and 26% – and to highlight variable pay gaps across the UK civil service. also secured interviews with departmental permanent secretaries and the former cabinet secretary, Lord O’Donnell, in which they discuss how UK departments have made progress on gender equality. O’Donnell credited changing models of leadership, giving greater value to skills in which women may be stronger, whilst Department of Health permanent secretary Dame Una O’Brien emphasised the importance of turning senior roles into job-shares that suit working mothers.

Welsh Government permanent secretary Sir Derek Jones and environment department permanent secretary Clare Moriarty both noted that women in their departments had been struggling to move up from middle management positions to the senior civil service. Both organisations saw the numbers of women winning top jobs grow after they offered potential candidates coaching and other forms of support, whilst introducing reforms such as barring all-male interview shortlists.

These interviewees’ views are outlined in the EY UK report, and explored fully – along with those of other key commentators – in a complementary report which examines in detail the factors shaping the UK’s progress towards gender parity in the senior civil service.

Source: EY

Source: EY

See our full feature: – Report: Gender Equality among Civil Service Leaders

About Matt Ross

Matt is Global Government Forum's Contributing Editor, providing direction and support on topics, products and audience interests across GGF’s editorial, events and research operations. He has been a journalist and editor since 1995, beginning in motoring and travel journalism – and combining the two in a 30-month, 30-country 4x4 expedition funded by magazine photo-journalism. Between 2002 and 2008 he was Features Editor of Haymarket news magazine Regeneration & Renewal, covering urban regeneration, economic growth and community development; and from 2008 to 2014 he was the Editor of UK magazine and website Civil Service World, then Editorial Director for Public Sector – both at political publishing house Dods. He has also worked as Director of Communications at think tank the Institute for Government.

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