The last twenty years has seen little change in the number of women graduates in top roles in organisations. The last Equal Opportunities Commission survey in 2007 showed that women are only...

• 10% of the senior judiciary.
• 10% of directors at FTSE 100 companies.
• 12% of senior police officers.
• 14% of local authority council leaders.
• 17% of editors of national newspaper.
• 20% of MPs (with only two ethnic minority women) - the recent general election shows little sign of changing this latter number dramatically.

Yet women make up 50% of the workforce and obviously 50% of the population. Furthermore, in 1980 59% of women worked and now it's 70% of women.

The good news is that women now make up 20% of the professional services workforce as opposed to 12% in 1971 so some progress has been made but for the graduating woman, there is everything to play for.

My feeling is that we are seeing a sea change in the workplace. Our population is ageing and the number of white, able-bodied men under forty-five in the workforce (latterly making up the bulk of it) is dwindling. This is opening up opportunities for all previously less engaged groups - and hopefully more on their own terms.
Organisations are increasingly interested, both out of necessity but also as a result of recent evidence to show that diverse teams make better business decisions. The way is wide open for women graduates to compete on their own terms rather than the terms of men.

Employers need to address the needs of women graduates in order to provide women-friendly workplaces and women graduates need to let employers know what they want and how they can contribute in return.

Let's not waste the efforts of the few women who have managed to break through into senior roles; let's build on it and really make some progress to make it a more rewarding and fairer workplace for all, including men.