Australia: New Report on Gender Equality Released

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By Rick Vollmar

Aug. 12—Only 7 percent of employers have a gender equality strategy and only 13 percent have a strategy for implementing policies on flexible work arrangements, according to the Workplace Gender and Equality Strategy final report released Aug. 6 by the Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women, Senator the Hon. Michaelia Cash.

“Promoting workplace gender equality has clear economic benefits, allowing organizations to attract and retain high-performing staff,” Minister Cash said in a press release accompanying release of the report. “The coalition government is committed to making a real difference in advancing gender equality and the release of today’s report will further assist us in this endeavour.”

“Strong implementation strategies are essential as they provide organizations with steps to reach their equality goals,” Cash added.

The study was funded by the Department of Employment and conducted by the Center for Workplace Leadership.

‘Inclusive Culture'

The CWL worked with 10 organizations to review their existing gender equality policies and develop a tailored strategy with concrete steps to improve gender equality in each workplace.

Michael Shirley, group vice president of Jacobs Group (Australia), one of the participating employers, said “our involvement with the Workplace Gender Equality Strategy Project was a valuable exercise enabling us to assess our progress and it provided guidance on the key drivers for gender equality success.”

Clare Bird, human resources director for Myer Family Company, another study participant, said that “this project came at an opportune time, helping us to think more about what an inclusive culture entails to unlock the potential of all our employees, male and female.”

‘Embedding' Gender Equality

The report should provide general guidance for other Australian organizations looking to take a long-term and strategic approach to gender equality, according to the press release, and the insight gained will help the CWL train leaders in best practices on how to “embed gender equality strategies in the workplace.”

Center director Peter Gahan said that research shows that more diversity in senior leadership has a positive effect on a range of workplace indicators, including satisfaction and productivity.

“The Center for Workplace Leadership is in an ideal position to lead work to address workplace gender equality because of our strong connections to Australian business,” Professor Gahan said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Rick Vollmar at

The Workplace Gender and Equality Strategy is available at, the government press release at

For more information on Australian HR law and regulation, see the Australia primer.