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Week of December 12th, 2016




Welcome to our weekly 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’s stalling progress for women at work? – McKinsey & Company

Although gender inequality increasingly concerns many companies, research from McKinsey and shows few organisations have programs in place that truly address the issue. Unless change picks up, it will take more than 100 years for men and women to be represented equally in the C-suite. In this episode of the McKinsey Podcast, McKinsey partner Alexis Krivkovich and senior partner Eric Kutcher speak with McKinsey Publishing’s Simon London about where women and men see shortfalls in today’s workplace, what can be done to promote meaningful progress, and how companies can start tracking execution and addressing unconscious bias, among other challenges. Read More

Women with children biggest financial losers of divorce: report – Canberra Times

New research now provides an unhappy post-mortem of the financial effects of divorce, with newly single women and mothers faring worst in divorce fallout. AMP.NATSEM’s report, Divorce: For Richer, For Poorer, released on Tuesday, finds that the average divorced woman has assets valued at 90 per cent less than her married equivalent. According to the report, newly divorced mothers spend 66.4 per cent of their household budget on basic necessity items, including groceries, clothing and utility bills. More than 20 per cent of them struggle to afford basic items such as school uniforms. Married mothers and fathers spend 54 per cent of their household budget on similar items. The research, which uses Household, Income and Labour Dynamics in Australia (HILDA) Survey data from 2001 to 2014, finds that while divorced fathers earn 26 per cent more than their married counterparts, divorced women earn 10 per cent less than married women. Read More

‘I can’t have it all’: Why men like James Brayshaw and John Key are walking away from their jobs – Women’s Agenda 

It is no victory when anyone has to leave a job they love because it isn’t compatible with their life outside of work. In a utopian world, working and having a family or leading a satisfying personal life, would never be mutually exclusive. In the real world, the demands of some jobs render any semblance of balance impossible. Until very recently, it has been women who have walked away from their jobs after concluding something had to give. The fact women constitute 71.6% of all part-time workers in Australia is indicative of the fact for lots of women, combining full time work with their responsibilities outside work is too difficult. Women still undertake the vast majority of unpaid work in our society: cooking, cleaning, caring for children, caring for relatives, which means they have less time to commit to paid work. It is the reason the notorious “Can women have it all” query has been so prolifically and forensically examined this decade and beyond. For too long the question hasn’t been asked of men. While there is little to celebrate in Brayshaw or Key walking away from their respective jobs, there is something to celebrate in their reasons for leaving. And their honesty in giving them. Read More

Naplan results: big gains for Indigenous students since 2008 – The Guardian 

Results in Naplan schools’ tests have remained stable in the past year but Indigenous students have recorded significant gains since 2008. The National Assessment Program Literacy and Numeracy results, released on Tuesday, show better results in all content areas, except writing, since the test was first conducted in 2008. Results improved in year 3 and 5 reading, year 3 spelling, grammar and punctuation, and year 5 numeracy since 2008. The Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority said there had been “significant cumulative gains” in some domains and year levels for Indigenous students including reading (years 3 and 5), numeracy (year 5), spelling (year 3), grammar and punctuation (years 3, 5 and 7). There has also been a significant increase in the percentage of students performing at or above the national minimum standard in writing at year 7. Read More

Gillian Triggs says weakening 18C ‘a seriously retrograde step’ – The Guardian 

The Human Rights Commission president, Gillian Triggs, has said any weakening of section 18C and 18D of the Racial Discrimination Act would be a seriously retrograde step and has criticised coverage of recent cases as distorted and one-sided. Triggs called for perspective in the Queensland University of Technology case brought under the act. “I suggest that to weaken section 18C in any way would be a seriously retrograde step,” Triggs said. “If anything, this section should be strengthened and clarified.” Triggs said even though the commission had managed the Racial Discrimination Act for 30 years, the recent debate had become politicised after the coverage of the QUT and Bill Leak cases. “I would suggest that sections 18C and D do send a message to us all that abusive race hate speech is not consistent with Australian values,” she said. Read More

The gender pay gap is harming women’s health – The Conversation

Despite the fact more women are employed than ever before, a gender pay gap is still a reality in Australia. Most recent figures show a pay difference of around 23%, with men earning on average A$26,853 more than women a year. But it’s not just the long-term financial consequences of the pay gap being felt by women. Evidence shows it also impacts on their physical and mental health. The pay gap results from a complex combination of factors. Women are less often employed in the kind of private-sector jobs that provide opportunities for high-earning management roles, such as managing directors and CEOs. They are more often employed in the public sector, in areas such as teaching, public service (the “professional” category in the figure), administration and sales – that carry a lower level of pay. They are more likely to be in lower-status jobs that not only have lower pay but poorer working conditions, such as less autonomy and control over how, what, where and when work is undertaken. Low job control is a well-established risk factor for poor physical and mental health. A recent United States study investigated the role of the gender pay gap on depression and anxiety, matching men and women on education, occupation, age and other factors related to wages. It found women whose income was lower than their male counterparts had a nearly 2.5 times higher risk of depression. Their likelihood of anxiety was four times higher than that of male counterparts. Read More