Leading Issues Journal 2014

November 2014


The Workplace Gender Equality Agency in November this year released the inaugural findings from comprehensive gender data provided by Australian employers. This world-leading dataset paints the most comprehensive picture of gender equality in workplaces Australia has ever seen. This picture, however, indicates that there is yet so much more work to be done to achieve gender equality in workplaces. Overall, the Agency’s dataset indicates employers are not taking a strategic approach to gender equality.  Below is a summation of some of the key findings in all industries:

The representation of women steadily declines when moving up the management levels, with women comprising only 26.1% of key management personnel (KMP) positions, and 17.3% of CEO positions.

  • One-third (33.5%) of employers have no KMPs who are women, and 31.3% of organisations have no ‘other executives / general managers’ who are women.
  • Less than one in 10 (8.8%) organisations have set a target to lift the number of women around the boardroom table despite only 23.7% of directorships being held by women, and just 12.0% of chairs being women.
  • 19.9% the gender pay gap – full-time base remuneration
  • 24.7% the gender pay gap – full-time total remuneration
  • Only 13.6% of employers have a strategy for flexible working and only 13.2% of employers have a strategy to support employees with family or caring responsibilities.
  • Less than one in four employers have conducted a gender remuneration gap analysis to check for potential pay equity issues.
  • Only 7.1% of employers have a standalone overall gender equality strategy.
  • The full report is at https://www.wgea.gov.au/sites/default/files/2013-14_summary_report_website.pdf

WGEA at www.wgea.gov.au has made available a number of avenues and resources to assist reporting organisations and organisational leaders improve gender equality in workplaces:

Reporting organisations can access their customised confidential benchmark reports via www.wgea.gov.au by logging into the online portal using their AUSkey, where they can choose up to 12 comparison groups with which to compare their organisation’s performance.

  • The Gender strategy toolkit provides a framework for achieving gender equality in workplaces, leveraging an organisation’s benchmark report.
  • The Guide to gender pay equity outlines six steps to improving pay equity in workplaces, and is accompanied by a gender pay gap calculator.
  • The Gender target-setting toolkit which assists organisations to set targets.

2014 has also brought some other disappointments, as noted by Professor Gillian Triggs, President of the Australian Human Rights Commission in her speech honouring recipients of the 2014 Australian Human Rights Award:

“We continue to have over 5,500 asylum seekers in mandatory and indefinite detention, including over 730 children, and the claims of 31,000 asylum seekers to refugee status have yet to be assessed. The good news is that with the recent agreement to TPVs many of the children will finally be released over the coming weeks.

In this very fortunate country we continue to struggle with poverty, (especially among our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders), disproportionately high indigenous imprisonment rates, especially among young aboriginals, prison detention for those with mental illness or disability who are unfit to plead to criminal charges and who often lack of access to justice, and of course the widespread consequences of domestic violence.”

This edition features the powerful speech given by Julian Burnside upon receiving the Sydney Peace Prize with thought provoking reflections and insights about our direction as a nation: “Just as a person’s character is judged by their conduct, so a country’s character is judged by its conduct. Australia is now judged overseas by its behaviour as cruel and selfish. We treat frightened, innocent people as criminals. It is a profound injustice.”

Also featured in this edition is the work of some extraordinary women leaders who continue to face significant challenges, but are persisting in navigating these challenges with innovation and courage. It also highlights the initiatives of women who are providing pathways to empower young girls and women. 

Authored by Shyam Pokharel, Director, SASANE, the story of Pushpa and Ganga who both received paralegal training from SASANE, an organisation in Nepal, established by former female victims of human trafficking to increase women’s access to justice and achieve systemic change within the legal system, is moving and inspirational. It portrays the extreme disadvantage girls and women face in Nepal and echoes consequences of the interaction between gender, poverty, power, subordination and exploitation.

Leading Issues Journal

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