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Week of April 10th, 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.


How Does Diversity Spur Innovation? – Stanford University

Commitment to diversity does much more than benefit an organisation’s image. In fact, research suggests that organisations with more diversity have higher levels of innovation. For example, authors of one recent study found that businesses with more diverse leaders were more likely to report that they increased their market share and captured new markets in the past year than businesses with less diverse work forces. However, Beyond Bias Summit speaker Katherine W. Phillips, Senior Vice Dean of Columbia Business School and the Paul Calello Professor of Leadership and Ethics at Columbia Business School, noticed a problem with this method of researching the link between diversity and innovation: this research fails to tell us whether more diverse leaders and work forces create more successful businesses or whether greater business success leads companies to hire more diverse people. Read More

Census data highlights economic consequences of the housework gender gap – Canberra Times

The first release of data from the 2016 Census shows the typical Australian woman spends between five and 14 hours a week doing unpaid domestic housework. For the typical Australian man it’s less than five hours a week, suggesting women still assume the lions’ share of the housework. National statistics from 2006 showed that women account for the majority of unpaid domestic work time, spending 33 hours a week in domestic work. Before we write these off as the bemoans of well-resourced first world problems, it is important to note that housework and the mental labour associated with its organisation have real and long-term economic consequences, particularly for women’s employment. Economists often factor in housework as one dimension of a person’s total amount of time in a day. People weigh all of their time demands – work, family and leisure – and make rational trades between these to maximise resources and efficiency. The problem with this rational-choice approach, research shows, is women consistently trade time in employment for greater time in domestic work even when their resources are on par with men. This is in a society that equates femininity with domesticity. Read More

Female Supreme Court Justices Are Interrupted More by Male Justices and Advocates – Harvard Business Review

During the Senate hearings on whether he should become the next associate justice of the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch maintained iron discipline in refusing to commit himself to any position that could count against him. Gorsuch maintained a steadfastly calm demeanour, but he showed his cards in one regard: He could not help repeatedly interrupting the liberal female senators. In this way, he proved himself to be well qualified to sit on the highest judicial bench. One new empirical study shows that the male justices interrupt the female justices approximately three times as often as they interrupt each other during oral arguments. And the conservative justices interrupt the liberal justices more than twice as often as vice versa. Read More

When men talk gender diversity and the lies that are told to women – Women’s Agenda 

Dr Richard Denniss, chief economist at the Australia Institute, recently offered a sharp, thirty-minute summary on what’s holding women back when it comes to money. He spoke about the three big lies we’re constantly sold on economic security. The first big lie is that gender inequality somehow reflects choices: that women are making the wrong choices and therefore we get bad outcomes. It’s all women’s fault, especially those of us who choose to work in caring industries that are paid poorly. The second lie women are up against is the idea that more evidence is needed before making major decisions and policy decisions that can help close the gender gap. “When you’re powerful you don’t need evidence. Evidence is what you tell the powerless people to go and collect,” Denniss said. The third lie is that Australia can’t afford to tackle gender inequality. “We sit here today in one of the richest countries in the world, in one of the richest cities, at the richest point in world history. Australia can afford to do anything it wants. What it can’t afford to do is everything that it wants. And that’s what politics is about, deciding what’s important and what’s not.” Read More

How Gender Bias Corrupts Performance Reviews, and What to Do About It – Harvard Business Review 

The annual performance review already has many strikes against it. Harried managers end up recalling high and low points on the fly; employees often get unclear direction. Here’s another flaw: Women are short-changed by these reviews. In a forthcoming book on gender bias in the workplace, recent findings, using content analysis of individual annual performance reviews, shows that women were 1.4 times more likely to receive critical subjective feedback (as opposed to either positive feedback or critical objective feedback). That’s because annual evaluations are often subjective, which opens the door to gender bias (“Tom is more comfortable and independent than Carolyn in handling the client’s concerns”) and confirmation bias (“I knew she’d struggle with that project”), among other things. These biases can lead to double standards, in that­­ a situation can get a positive or a negative spin, depending on gender. Read More

Henrietta Augusta Dugdale: Australian suffragist honoured by Google – The Guardian 

Henrietta Augusta Dugdale, a founder of the first female suffragist society in Australia, has been honoured by Google with a doodle on the search engine’s homepage. On 13 April 1869, Dugdale became the first Australian woman to publicly call for women’s equality with a letter published in Melbourne’s Argus newspaper. In the letter, she described a bill to help women secure rights to property as a “poor and partial remedy for a great and crying evil” and a “piece of the grossest injustice”. Google wrote: “Today, we pay tribute to a woman who knew the power of her pen, and used it to fight for equal justice and rights for women.” 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.