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Week of 20th February, 2017




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.


Everyone Likes Flex Time, but We Punish Women Who Use It – Harvard Business Review 

Offering flexible workplace schedules seems like a no-brainer. Work has become more flexible — tied less to specific times and places — and gender roles have changed. Letting employees shift their hours to accommodate hectic life schedules makes sense. Surveys show that flex time ranks high on the list of benefits employees want and that women value it even more than men do. But two recent studies suggest flex-time programs may be costly to the people who enrol in them, especially women. Read More 

Gendered job ads in Victoria’s sights – The Mandarin 

It’s difficult to increase gender diversity in an organisation if few women apply for jobs there in the first place. But individual choice doesn’t exist in a vacuum — research shows that using more masculine words in a job advertisement, such as leader, competitive or dominant, can make it less likely women will apply. It’s with this problem in mind that the Victorian government has announced that its anti-discrimination pilot program will target language with traditionally masculine or feminine connotations in job advertisements. This week marks the beginning of the 18-month Recruit Smarter program, which aims to tackle unconscious bias against women and people from diverse cultural backgrounds. In an Australian first, the pilot will de-identify personal details, such as names, genders, ages, and locations, to reduce potential bias during the application process. Read More

Bystanders often don’t intervene in sexual harassment – but should they? – The Conversation 

Barriers to bystander intervention have been well documented. In order to intervene, bystanders need to be able to recognise sexual harassment or assault when it is happening. A significant proportion of the population adheres to a range of problematic beliefs and stereotypes about sexual violence and violence against women, so it is questionable whether many people recognise incidents of sexual harassment or assault when they occur. Even if bystanders do recognise that sexual harassment is occurring, they may not know what to do, and lack confidence to intervene effectively. Bystanders can fear social embarrassment and breaching social norms. We know that the propensity to intervene is mediated by gender, with women generally more likely or more confident to intervene than men. One reason for this is that men are more likely to adhere to the aforementioned myths and misconceptions about sexual violence. Read More 

How the penalty rates decision hurts women – Canberra Times 

The decision by Fair Work Australia to cut penalty rates will hit young people hard. It’s also a huge blow to working women. It’s likely to make our gender pay gap even worse, because the cuts disproportionately target women. Everyone knows that most hospitality workers, shop assistants, hair dressers and beauty therapists are women. If you don’t trust the evidence of your own eyes, you can also look at the official figures. In the retail trade, 56 per cent of employees are women. In accommodation and food services, it’s 54.3 per cent. Weekend shifts are particularly prevalent for people working in part-time roles and casual jobs. Not only are the retail and hospitality industries dominated by part-time and casual employment, but in both cases women are much more likely than men to be working part time. Read More 

‘Have a crack’ at promotion, Eccles tells young women – The Mandarin

When looking at a job description where they only meet some of the key selection criteria, women are more likely than men to decide there is no point applying. This can mean missing out on opportunities.Given that there can be a “reticence” for younger women especially to “put themselves into an overt competitive process”, public sector leaders have a responsibility to tell young women that “you have every right to have a crack in the same way that your male counterparts are prepared to have a crack”, says Chris Eccles, secretary of the Victorian Department of Premier and Cabinet. The drive to boost female representation in key roles across the Victorian Public Service is having an impact at DPC. The department is just shy of hitting its target of women comprising 50% of its executives, a significant jump in a couple of years, Eccles revealed at a parliamentary hearing. Read More 

Learn more about The May Group’s Advancing Women program and resources, to recognise the personal and public value of women achieving their full potential, reaching their professional goals, and taking up more senior positions in our society.