New Zealand's business environment one of the most gender progressive - study

Businesswomen shaking hands. Photo credit: Getty

A new study suggests New Zealand is among the most progressive countries in terms of gender diversity in business.

In a Google image search using the term 'CEO', New Zealand has the second-highest percentage of women represented in the results out of 15 countries.

When users in New Zealand search for 'CEO' in Google, 32 percent of image results are of women. 

Forty percent of senior management positions in New Zealand are held by women, according to data from global business analysis platform Creditsafe which conducted the study.

New Zealand came second to Canada, where the proportion of women shown in Google results was 39 percent compared to a 36 percent representation in reality. 

Researchers analysed Google results across 15 nations: Brazil, Canada, Colombia, India, Japan, Malta, Mexico, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Russia, South Africa, UAE, the UK and the US.

The study aims to show the discrepancy between the percentage of women in business represented in a Google search to the percentage of female representation in reality. 

"It's no secret that the media has the power to shape our perceptions. And who is one of the largest organisations in choosing what media we see online? Google," says the study.

For example, only 4 percent of women in business will be represented in a Google search in Brazil - yet in reality, women account for 37 percent of business roles in the country.

According to the study, both Mexico and Norway have a zero percent return on images of women in business - in reality, 32 percent of business roles are held by women in both countries.

India and UAE both showed similar percentages. Women in business account for 4 percent of Google results in India, compared to only 7 percent in reality, while 9 percent of Google results in UAE are of women, compared to 10 percent in real life.

"Google collects images from sites across the web and shows an aggregation to users," says Creditsafe chief financial officer Carys Hughes. "If we want to change this, we need to ensure women are being represented accurately in our media, as well as our boardrooms." 

The study has acknowledged that Google is not always the most reliable source, and all research should be backed up with accurate and up-to-date information.


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