Eight Strategies for Improving Gender Equality in the Workplace
14 July 2017 at 10:00 am
A number of Australian businesses leading the way in gender equality have been selected by the nation’s agency for workplace gender equality in the hope they will inspire other businesses to follow suit.
According to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) only 16 per cent of Australia’s CEOs are women, the pay gap remains at 16 per cent and only 48 per cent of organisations have paid primary carer leave.
There is also persistent gender segregation across sectors.
According to WGEA while 80 per cent of care workers are female, 84 per cent of the mining workforce is made up of males.
But WGEA director Libby Lyons said some Australian business were leading the way in implementing “innovative strategies” to address gender inequality.
She said she hoped by profiling those businesses other organisations would be inspired.
“[They] will hopefully inspire other organisations to think about what they can do to challenge the stereotypes of ‘women’s’ work and ‘men’s work, and create workplaces where women and men are equally valued and rewarded,” Lyons said.
Among the eight case studies published on the WGEA website was Benetas, a Victorian not-for-profit aged care service provider, which is actively trying to recruit men into working in healthcare by offering work flexibility and primary carer’s leave in addition to paying superannuation to all staff while they are on parental leave.
According to Benetas it has traditionally been women with caring responsibilities who have sought flexible working options, but research shows this is changing.
Increasingly, workplace flexibility is a key driver of employment decisions for men – especially younger fathers, male managers and men approaching retirement.
“The demand to have greater access to flexible work enables men to share the balance of caring and household responsibilities and helps to facilitate gender equality at work and at home,” Benetas general manager, people, development and diversity, Ellen Flint said.
“As a result of our emphasis on challenging stereotypes, we are seeing more men working flexibly.
“In the last five years there has been a 3 per cent increase in male employees. It’s a high priority for us to continue to increase the number of males in the industry.”
MYOB was also featured for its DevelopHer program which trains women with no background in IT and subsequently offers them a job in their development team, while NAB has implemented a self-service intranet site to manage flexible working arrangements.
Lyons said employers were increasingly aware of the strong business case for improving gender equality in the workplace.
“We know that employers are very interested in effective strategies to address key challenges like pay equity, workforce segregation and women’s leadership representation,” she said.
“[But] sometimes it is hard for employers to know where to start. We hope these inspiring stories will generate ideas and drive change.”
A full list of the case studies is available here.