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2-12 May, 2017

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Welcome to our news, research & resources round-up, where consultant Hannah E. Lawson shares the latest collection of news relevant to gender, diversity & inclusion in Australia and the World.

 

What does a female-friendly workplace actually look like? – Canberra Times

A woman working at a major construction company is subjected to daily harassment and threats of rape and violence in her office for years. A new analysis of latest Tax Office figures finds that 30 of the nation’s top 31 earning jobs pay men more than women. And in the US, Fox News’ top-rating star Bill O’Reilly is finally out after a sexual harassment scandal with complaints from female colleagues dating back to 2002. “I think women have made a lot of progress towards equality in the workplace and these days we do tend to see a lot less of the overt or extreme behaviour of the Mad Men mentality,” says Emma Starkey, senior associate at Maurice Blackburn Lawyers. “But while now we see a real intention, or desire, to have female-friendly workplaces, we still have a long way to go to make those a reality everywhere. A lot of the barriers are systemic.” Read More

How to React to Biased Comments at Work – Harvard Business Review

Bias at work can be overt and insidious. It can be shocking and enraging. But the subtle “Wait, what just happened?” moments are far more frequent. Take these examples: A client assumes you are in a subordinate role because of your age. A prospective customer only makes eye contact with your white colleague. A co-worker calls you “angry” while your equally assertive male counterpart gets labelled “strong” (a far too often occurrence for women as one of our previous studies showed). Moments like these leave you questioning others’ intentions and your own perceptions. The inner dialogue can sound a bit like, “I’m upset. But should I be? Do I have a right to be?” At best, this shadowy bias is exhausting. At worst, it is soul destroying. Bias’s sometimes slippery nature also makes it difficult to eradicate in the workplace. Leaders implement policies that prohibit discrimination against protected classes, but rules can’t prevent unconscious, unintentional bias. How do you legislate status assumptions, eye contact, and silent perceptions? Read More

Public service commission and PM&C set the tone for APS gender plans – The Mandarin 

Following the release of the APS-wide gender strategy last April, PM&C and the Australian Public Service Commission have both followed up with their own internal gender equality action plans, setting the tone for other agencies. The APSC action plan is a simple and succinct affair in the form of a colourful two-page document that lists statistics about its own mostly female workforce and commitments to support it, like becoming a “breastfeeding friendly workplace”, as well as actions it will take in its role as the central human resources agency. The PM&C document is much more substantial and no doubt a useful exemplar for other agencies, with a long list of the practical actions that aim to maintain and build the most diverse workforce possible. Read More

No more ‘boys’ clubs’: Super funds to vote against directors on boards with no women – Canberra Times

Australia’s peak super investment body will recommend its members vote against the re-election of company directors who sit on boards with no women. The Australian Council of Superannuation Investors, which represents $450 billion in assets on behalf of more than 8 million Australian super fund members, says time is up for directors sitting on all-male boards. “We feel as though these companies have had more than adequate notice about our concerns in this area,” ACSI chief executive Louise Davidson told Fairfax Media. “They have had more than enough time to get their house in order and have failed to do so.” The group will instruct its members to vote against any incumbent director who sits on an all-male board when investors meet with companies during this year’s annual meeting season in October. Read More

Don’t Give Up on Unconscious Bias Training — Make It Better – Harvard Business Review

There’s a growing scepticism about whether unconscious bias training is an effective tool to meet corporate diversity goals. Critics of such training contend that it doesn’t visibly move the needle on diversity numbers, and can even backfire. Some academic studies support this perspective: one longitudinal study found that traditional diversity trainings are the least effective efforts in increasing numbers of underrepresented minorities, while experimental research has shown that presenting evidence that people commonly rely on stereotypes — information often found in diversity trainings — isn’t helpful and can even condone the use of stereotypes. On the other hand, a meta-analysis found that diversity trainings can be effective, depending on many factors including content, length, audience, and accompanying diversity efforts. Read More

The truth about the 2017 Budget’s impact on women – Women’s Agenda

There is consensus today that Scott Morrison and Malcolm Turnbull have done a good job with the 2017 Budget. It’s been described as a Labor budget, as planting the seeds of a possible turning point for an unpopular government and according to the The Sydney Morning Herald‘s stalwart economics editor Ross Gittins, it’s the best of the four the current coalition government has delivered. And yet for all of its relative merit there is something unmistakably absent from this budget. Women do not rate a mention. The fact a government blueprint that almost entirely avoids the subject of women can be received positively is telling. It is, of course, all relative. Read More

APS gender equality strategies: one year on – The Mandarin

Research tells us that several key elements are needed to progress workplace gender equality and make an organisation an employer of choice for women.  These include: commitment from senior management, buy-in from all staff, and an ongoing organisational change process to embed cultures which allow gender equality to flourish. So, do these departments’ policies incorporate these factors? The strategies all appear to have high level support, with many stating that SES officers will model behaviours to progress gender equality, such as working flexibly and demonstrably combining work with caring responsibilities. Less visible are processes to engage all staff in the gender equality endeavour and in many of the plans, responsibility for implementation rests with human resource sections. The lower focus on these two factors means that gender equality concerns may lack support from the whole organisation and not be as effective as they otherwise could be. Read More

 

Learn more about The May Group’s Inclusive Leadership program and resources, to help you cultivate inclusive and diverse workplaces.