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Week of February 13th, 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.


Women Are Less Likely to Apply for Executive Roles If They’ve Been Rejected Before – Harvard Business Review 

Women begin their careers with ambitions that are just as high as their male peers, but before long they scale back their goals and shy away from competing for these jobs. The reason, many assume, is because women are risk averse or lack confidence, or maybe because they have different career preferences than their male colleagues do. But research suggests another reason.  A study of more than 10,000 senior executives was conducted who were competing for top management jobs in the UK. It was found that women were indeed less likely than men to apply for these jobs, but here’s the interesting part: women were much less likely to apply for a job if they had been rejected for a similar job in the past. Of course, men were also less likely to apply if they had been rejected, but the effect was much stronger for women — more than 1.5 times as strong. Read More 

AFP ‘trying to correct 200-plus years of systemic violence’ against women – The Mandarin 

The Australian Federal Police is at the start of a long road to transform its deeply entrenched organisational culture that will take “years, if not decades” according to the commissioner, but he will defend it as a “great organisation” to the end. The catalyst for change was a report from sex discrimination commissioner turned consultant Elizabeth Broderick last year that revealed hard truths about the experiences of some women in the AFP.“We’d allowed bad behaviours to become normalised, and not to be questioned,” The AFP commissioner said, suggesting that was common to other public sector organisations. “Nothing will change in the AFP because I said so. I can change a guideline or a procedure, or sign off on something, but the truth is unless it makes sense to the person in Sydney or the person in the Solomon Islands or wherever it might be, unless it makes sense to them and their team leader wants them to do it and their superintendent wants them to do it, it’s not going to happen.” Read More 

The Flexibility Stigma: How a Weekly Meeting on Monday Nights Can Shut off your Access to Top Talent – Stacey Epstein via LinkedIn Pulse

The gender gap in business is a dominating part of the dialogue about the future of work. But it’s not just equal pay that drives women’s career decisions. In the NY Times last week, Claire Cain Miller put it perfectly in How to Close a Gender Gap: Let Employees Control Their Schedules. “Flexibility regarding the time and place that work gets done would go a long way toward closing the gaps, economists say. Yet when people ask for it, especially parents, they can be penalized in pay and promotions. Social scientists call it the flexibility stigma, and it’s the reason that even when companies offer such policies, they’re not widely used.” According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, more than 6 million Americans actively choose part-time work to maintain a work-life balance. It is a deliberate decision that some are able to make, but people shouldn’t have to work part-time and put financial strain on their lives just to avoid giving up what’s most important to them. It’s companies that need to evolve their policies to adapt to the needs of a dynamic and capable talent pool. Read More 

The Different Reasons Men and Women Leave Their Successful Startups – Harvard Business Review 

Failure is common in the startup world, and some studies have found that failure rates are especially high for female entrepreneurs. Research conducted challenges both the prevalence of failure overall and women’s higher failure rates. When looking into the question of whether female entrepreneurs fail more than their male counterparts, researchers realized that the conclusions on women’s supposed underperformance were based on evidence about higher exit rates for firms run by women. Previous research assumed that exit was involuntary, the result of poor performance. Hence, entrepreneurial success was closely tied to a firm’s survival. But is exit the same as failure? There is a growing awareness among scholars that failure and exit are two fundamentally distinct concepts, and that the decision to exit a business is often driven by choice and nonfinancial factors. Read More

ANU to help measure global gender data gaps in poverty – ANU News 

The ANU will partner with the International Women’s Development Agency and the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in a new $9.5 million project to develop a world-first gender-sensitive and multidimensional measure of poverty. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop launched the Individual Deprivation Measure (IDM) during her opening speech to the 2017 Australasian Aid Conference at ANU. “The result will be the Individual Deprivation Measure, a data tool for policy makers to better target our Aid and improve its effectiveness.” ANU Associate Professor Sharon Bessell, from the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy, said it was impossible to effectively tackle problems unless they could be understood. For too long, lack of investment in individual data collection has limited the understanding of who experiences poverty and how. “We need more and better data, especially gender data,” Associate Professor Bessell said. 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.