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Week of December 5th, 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.



Susan Kiefel becomes Australia’s first female High Court chief justice – Canberra Times

Susan Kiefel has been named Australia’s first female High Court chief justice – ending 113 years of men leading the nation’s highest court. Attorney-General George Brandis said Justice Kiefel had emerged as the “overwhelmingly favourite candidate” to replace Chief Justice French following consultation with the state attorneys-general and other leaders of the profession. Read More

Racial discrimination in Australia: A third of young people report race-based mistreatment – ABC News

Almost a third of young people experienced unfair treatment or discrimination based on their race in the last year, Mission Australia’s youth survey has revealed. A total 22,000 young people aged between 15 and 19 from across the country completed the survey, with 4,000 teenagers saying they spoke a language other than English at home — the most common being Chinese, Vietnamese and Arabic. When broken down, the survey showed Mandarin-speaking young people experienced the highest rates of racial discrimination, at 90 per cent. About 80 per cent of Cantonese and Filipino young people reported unfair treatment based on their race. Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people were almost twice as likely to report having experienced racial discrimination than their non-Indigenous peers. Read More

Not asking for it – Canberra Times

Five years ago, a landmark change to the Sex Discrimination Act made it illegal for customers to sexually harass employees. Not only were customers who did so breaking the law, but employers who did not take reasonable steps to protect staff could be liable. Yet since then, complaints to the Australian Human Rights Commission have barely risen and there have been no court cases testing the new law. Fairfax Media spoke to 20 women for this investigation. They work in a broad range of roles: waitresses, retail workers, health workers, teachers, an industrial designer, sex worker, librarians and call centre staff. They are employed at places you’ve been to – bars, juice kiosks, public hospitals, the post office. Read More

UN expert says Australians (and their leaders) have a big racism problem – Canberra Times

The United Nations’ special rapporteur on racism has condemned Australian politicians from major and minor parties whose statements are contributing to an increase in “xenophobic hate speech” and negative views about migrants. Mutuma Ruteere has also warned that political leaders who do not denounce such views are tacitly contributing to the normalisation of hard-right and racist opinions. Mr Ruteere was finishing a visit to Australia, the first by someone holding his position in 15 years. He comments will form the basis of a report he will deliver to the United Nations Human Rights Council next year. Read More

Beyond individual merit: reimagining the mandarins of the future – The Mandarin

Who will be the next generation of public sector leaders, what personal attributes and skills will they need, and how will they acquire them? Along with more traditional skills and newer additions around cross-agency collaboration, agility and support for innovation, there is widespread agreement that there should be far more diversity in the executive levels. “Now, there’s lots of reasons you care about diversity,” said NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet secretary Blair Comley, in a discussion about future leadership capability at the recent IPAA ACT conference. The NSW public service, he said, is looking mainly through the “lens” of how various types of diversity can improve leadership performance, from gender targets that get more women into the upper echelon, to ways of recruiting different types of thinkers. Read More

How to bring mindfulness to your company’s leadership – Harvard Business Review

So, does mindfulness training develop leaders? Yes, because the study suggests that mindfulness training produces an improvement in three capacities that are key for successful leadership in the 21st century: resilience, the capacity for collaboration, and the ability to lead in complex conditions. No, because development depends on the level of practice that the leader does. Simply attending one or more workshops might help strengthen resilience by sharing some useful tools and techniques, but other improvements require practice. The more practice, the better. In our study, the leaders who practiced for at least 10 minutes every day progressed significantly more than others who did not. The leaders in our program told the authors that, taken together, the three three meta-capacities they developed (Metacognition, Allowing and Curiosity) opened up a vital space in the previously automated flow of their experience. One leader summed up what this meant: “I now have moments of choice that I didn’t have before.” Read More

WGEA 2015-2016 Gender Equality Scorecard – WGEA

WGEA have released their annual Gender Equality Scorecard outlining key findings from 2015-2016 reporting data including a sampling below:

  • The full-time total remuneration gender pay gap is 23.1%, with men earning on average $26,853 a year more than women
  • 1% of men are employed full-time compared with 40.7% of women
  • 9% of employees work in an industry that is dominated by one gender
  • 3% of women are CEOS and 28.5% of key management personnel are women

Read More

How ThoughtWorks killed gender bias, beat Google and Facebook as a top company for women in tech – Canberra Times

On Thursday, Th​oughtWorks will also be named a 2016 Employer of Choice for Gender Equality by the Australian government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA). It is one of 106 organisations that have received the coveted citation for policies and training aiming to improve gender diversity. To this end the company provides its staff with unconscious bias training. “I am not an evil person because of unconscious bias,” Dr Parsons says. “It’s only wrong when I don’t try to mitigate and overcome it.” ​She says, in her experience, “men and women are both harder on women than on men”, and much more needs to be done to change that, especially in the traditionally male-dominated fields of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). Dr Parsons says women drop out of tech-based careers at a much faster rate than men – double the rate in many US industries – not simply because they leave for caretaking roles, but mainly because they do not feel they have opportunities to progress. Read More

Finding gender balance: looking beyond the usual (male) suspects – The Mandarin

A common refrain from an organisation failing to meet gender targets is that there aren’t enough women to be found in their line of work. Undoubtedly this is true in many cases. But the example of Victoria’s water boards shows the problem can be overcome with dedicated effort and a willingness to do things differently, in this case by considering a much wide pool of candidates than in the past. In April 2015, Victorian Water Minister Lisa Neville announced all 135 positions on the state’s 19 water boards would be spilled in an effort to bring in more women and put a greater focus on tackling climate change. Women comprised 38.5% of water board directors and only 16% of board chairs prior to the review. A few months later, following a concerted effort to boost female representation, women made up 50.3% of board directors and 42% of chairs. Read More

Learn more about The May Group’s capability development programs tailored to help you cultivate inclusive and diverse workplaces, and support and inspire women to advance their careers.