Sunday, July 13, 2014

'Bamboo ceiling' blocking Asian Australians, says commissioner


A ''bamboo ceiling'' is preventing Asian Australians from taking their share of leadership positions, the Race Discrimination Commissioner, Tim Soutphommasane, has suggested. In a speech delivered in Perth on Thursday, Dr Soutphommasane said while children of Australians of migrant backgrounds outperformed the children of Australian-born parents in education and employment, the nation's cultural diversity was not represented in positions of leadership.

''Equality of opportunity isn't enjoyed in equal measure in all spheres,'' Dr Soutphommasane said. ''Our efforts in opening the doors of power to all who knock are more questionable.'' Dr Soutphommasane said while nearly half of all Australians were either born overseas or had a parent who was born overseas, and about one in 10 Australians had an Asian background, only a handful of members of Federal Parliament had non-European ancestry, and less than 2 per cent had Asian ancestry. Of 83 secretaries and deputy secretaries of federal government departments, only three had Asian origins. Asian Australian were also badly underrepresented among the management ranks of business and executive positions at leading universities, he said.

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