themaygr_ Week of February 6th, 2017 | The May Group
Pages Menu
Categories Menu

Week of February 6th, 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.


Is It OK for a Bunch of Men to Lead a “Women in the Workforce” Initiative? – Harvard Business Review 

President Trump has just appointed two men to head up his women in the workplace initiative. The reactions are predictable: How can men appropriately represent women? But that is the typical misframing of the gender issue. Gender equality is not a “women’s issue” — it’s a huge political, economic, and social opportunity. It is a massive business issue that more than 75% of corporate CEOs currently put on their agenda of top 10 issues. Research shows that gender balance happens in companies only if it is personally and forcefully led by the CEO. The reality is that many of the companies starting to look truly balanced are or were led by men. Successful gender balancing requires convincing the majority of your employees that it’s a good idea. Smart CEOs of male-dominated companies know that the real push on gender balance (especially in leadership) is getting leaders, most of whom are male, to own the accountability for balancing. And they know that the best person to convince them of this isn’t a woman. It’s one of their own. So getting men to lead the charge is a smart choice, as more and more organizations are recognizing. But how can you tell whether a CEO is a good leader on gender? It’s pretty easy: See who’s on the company’s executive team. How many women are there? Are they in strategic roles, or staff functions? Read More

Evolving the APS employment offer: flexible, free-range – The Mandarin

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is moving ahead with an “if not, why not?” approach to flexible working arrangements foreshadowed in a speech by Minister Michaelia Cash almost a year ago. The new departmental policy that was published internally this week makes flexible work the norm for all staff, with or without dependents to care for, according to the Australian Public Service Commission’s latest news update. DFAT was encouraged to make its jobs flexible by default — a policy Cash said would apply wherever possible in the APS when she addressed the Press Club last March — after a successful trial. The department will be trying to see how the policy affects career progression and how popular flexible work is with male employees through future staff surveys, and has arranged workshops for managers on leading teams that are both flexible and high performing. Read More

Time for a new gender-equality playbook – McKinsey 

More than 75 percent of CEOs include gender equality in their top ten business priorities, but gender outcomes across the largest companies are not changing. McKinsey’s research indicates, for example, that corporate America promotes men at 30 percent higher rates than women during their early career stages and that entry-level women are significantly more likely than men to have spent five or more years in the same role. The research suggests we fall short in translating top-level commitment into a truly inclusive work environment. We see strong evidence that even when top executives say the right things, employees don’t think they have a plan for making progress toward gender equality, don’t see those words backed up with action, don’t feel confident calling out gender bias when they see it, and don’t think frontline managers have gotten the message. Read More

Diversity Doesn’t Stick Without Inclusion – Harvard Business Review 

Leaders have long recognised that a diverse workforce of women, people of colour, and LGBT individuals confers a competitive edge in terms of selling products or services to diverse end users. Yet a stark gap persists between recognising the leadership behaviours that unlock this capability and actually practising them. Part of the problem is that “diversity” and “inclusion” are so often lumped together that they’re assumed to be the same thing. But that’s just not the case. In the context of the workplace, diversity equals representation. Without inclusion, however, the crucial connections that attract diverse talent, encourage their participation, foster innovation, and lead to business growth won’t happen. As noted diversity advocate Vernā Myers puts it, “Diversity is being invited to the party. Inclusion is being asked to dance.” Read More

Macho public service workplaces are making women do the ‘office housework’ – Canberra Times

Women in the federal public service are still being used to do the office housework and kept out of important jobs by a ‘macho’ culture, according to a new academic study. A leading workplace researcher says she was ‘shocked’ by some of the attitudes toward female public servants she found in the two large Canberra departments taking part in her survey. University of NSW workplace academic Sue Williamson has conducted 150 interviews and focus groups at the large departments, whose identities are not disclosed as a condition of participation in the study, and was shocked by some of the things she heard. Read More

June Oscar becomes first Indigenous Woman appointed to Human Rights watchdog – Women’s Agenda 

June Oscar has this week been named Australia’s new Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Social Justice Commissioner, becoming the first Indigenous woman appointed to the Australian Human Rights Commission. Oscar takes the position after a long career leading and advocating for Indigenous communities, most notably in helping to fight alcohol-related issues and damage, and playing an instrumental role in initiating the country’s first major study in Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. The Bunuba woman is currently chief executive of the Marninwarntikura Women’s Resource Centre in Fitzroy Crossing, and was named one of the 50 most influential women in the world in 2011 and later awarded an Officer of the Order of Australia. Read More

$40m for ‘robust, independent evaluation’ of Indigenous policy – The Mandarin

The federal government has announced it is putting $40 million over four years towards better evaluation of federal Indigenous affairs policies, just as the auditor-general’s office reports the centrepiece of the portfolio has been fumbled by the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet. The Australian National Audit Office reports “the department did not effectively implement” the Indigenous Advancement Strategy, which it developed after it took over the IA portfolio in September 2013. The IAS was, according to PM&C, “a major reform in the administration and delivery of services and programs to Indigenous Australians in response to widespread criticism over many years.” It consolidated 150 funded activities under 27 separate programs into five streams, focused on specific priority outcomes. Read More


Learn more about The May Group’s Inclusive Leadership program and resources, to help you cultivate inclusive and diverse workplaces.