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Week of November 21st, 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 Board Directors Really Think of Gender Quotas – Harvard Business Review 

To better understand perceptions of quotas, the authors interviewed over 60 male and female directors in both the U.S. and Europe who had served on a total of over 300 publicly traded company boards, as well as several U.S. and European executive recruiters. The study includes interviews with directors of companies located in countries where quotas have been achieved (e.g., Iceland, Norway) as well as in countries still working toward achieving their gender diversity quotas (e.g., France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, the UK).  They also include directors of companies in countries where no goals or quotas have been set (e.g., Australia, Denmark, the U.S.).  This comparative investigation revealed some interesting insights into the issue. Read More

Yes, you’re entitled to your opinion – but it helps if you’re a man – The Conversation

In the six months to September this year, Danielle Wood collected data from the double page opinion sections of the AFR, The Age and The Australian. The period covered the Australian federal budget and election, the US election primaries, terror attacks in Paris, Nice and Orlando and the ongoing war in Syria. All generated substantial comment about economics, politics and foreign policy. More than 1,500 weekday opinion page articles were published in the three papers. Nearly three-quarters of the articles across the three papers surveyed were written by men. Men wrote 61% of articles in The Age, 75% in The Australian and a whopping 88% in the AFR. The AFR’s pages are less gender diverse than ASX 200 boards (77% male), State and Federal parliament (71% male), and the upper echelons of academia (68% male). Read More

Linda Burney calls on Malcolm Turnbull to stop silencing Aboriginal voices – Canberra Times

Australia’s first female Aboriginal MP Linda Burney has slammed the Turnbull government’s “paternalistic” approach towards indigenous people and demanded decision-making power be delivered back to the bush. “Inflicting policy decisions on Aboriginal communities and then arriving later for a photo op and Twitter post is not a substitute for consultation,” she said. The opposition spokeswoman for human services delivered a scathing assessment on the plight of indigenous people while speaking at the Menzies School of Health Research in Darwin. She said conservative forces have cut funding to legal services and advocacy groups while ignoring Aboriginal voices. Read More

Let’s honour the invisible work of Aboriginal women tackling domestic violence – The Guardian 

We can hear the statistics of the level of domestic violence faced by Aboriginal women and children and feel the enormous horror. The recent landmark study in Victoria, the “Always was, always will be Koori children” report, showed that 88% of Aboriginal children had been exposed to family violence. It is easy to be outraged and wonder why the Indigenous community isn’t doing something about it. The fact is Indigenous people – as a new Guardian Australia series launching this week shows – are doing plenty. Rather than asking about how to get more Indigenous women to work on the programs they have designed and are running, perhaps the questions should be how those organisations can support the work Aboriginal women are trying to do within their own community. Empower them to be even greater agents of change within their communities. Read More 

Getting more women into leadership roles will encourage others to step up – The Guardian 

Figures released by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency that show men in Australia earn on average nearly $27,000 a year more than women and that five out of six chief executives are male. These and other disheartening factors have a compounding, negative effect on a woman’s superannuation savings. Superannuation is what many Australians plan to rely on during retirement, yet the average man retires with nearly twice the balance of that of the average woman’s superannuation. While women’s participation in the workforce is at its highest point since 1978 at 57.9%, it is still 12 percentage points lower than the male participation rate. So much of the inequality women experience is attached to the workplace: their pay levels, the way caring responsibilities are valued and the representation of women in leadership roles. Read More

The uncomfortable truth: Perpetrators of family violence are in our workplaces, along with 800,000 victims – Women’s Agenda

Given large companies inevitably employ both the victims and perpetrators of domestic and family violence, they have a responsibility to play a part in addressing the problem. That’s the opinion of Commonwealth bank CEO Ian Narev, whose bank is one of 17 Australian organisations to release a new report today detailing best practice approaches for implementing a workplace response to domestic and family violence. “It is an uncomfortable fact that large companies have victims and perpetrators,” he said, on releasing the report. “We cannot simply accept that fact. Rather, we must accept our responsibility to play our part in changing it.” The Lessons Learned report comes one year after the Male Champions of Change released its ‘Playing our part’ report, offering a three part model of actions that any organisation can take to help reduce the prevalence and impact of violence. This latest report shares the steps, processes and frameworks some of our largest employers have found to be most effective in helping. Read More

The employers who want women who are out of work – Women’s Agenda

SAP’s Back to Work program is an initiative supporting professional women looking to re-enter the workforce after a career break by offering project-based assignments. Having been successfully rolled out in Japan and Korea, it is now on offer in Australia. The program is open to applicants from a variety of fields, who have spent a minimum of two years out of the workforce but of the 12 women brought on board, the average break from the workforce is around five to six years. Aside from the potential benefit to applicants, it is providing SAP with exposure to talent it was previously missing out on. Tapping into the latent talent of women currently out of the workforce is part of the reason Deloitte consulting is launching a pilot program called Return to Work next year. Read More

Anne Aly’s blistering feminism speech: put women in the room with men and we are invisible – Canberra Times

Women are invisible at the top of Australian business and many from diverse backgrounds are excluded from the traditional frontlines of feminism, Labor MP Anne Aly said on Wednesday. Delivering the 2016 Emily’s List Oration in Canberra, the Cowan MP said her experience as the first woman on a previously all-male board had taught her that men regularly take credit for the work of women. Dr Aly argued that only full diversity in Parliament should be acceptable to contemporary Australian society. “History is truly watching us, and we will be judged tomorrow for what we do today, so let’s find more women,” Dr Aly said. Dr Aly said Australian women face disproportional impacts from disadvantage, including through the significantly higher rates of incarceration faced by Indigenous Australian women and racial abuse faced by Muslim women wearing traditional head coverings. Read More

Four times Sharman Stone championed the rights of women and girls – Canberra Times

Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has anointed Dr Sharman Stone as Australia’s new Ambassador for Women and Girls. Dr Stone, who served as the federal member for the regional Victorian seat of Murray for 20 years, has a long history of agitating within the Liberal Party for female rights. Throughout the 1990s Dr Stone was a thorn in John Howard’s side as minister for workforce participation and parliamentary secretary for finance, before becoming a member of the Coalition’s shadow ministry who consistently pushed for more female representation in Parliament right up until the Abbott era. Dr Stone’s appointment to the role that sits in Ms Bishop’s portfolio is considered a positive one, if not strategically subversive. Hopefully she will take her legacy of being a strong campaigner for women’s rights to the world stage and continue to champion views that fly in the face of the US President-elect’s stance on issues such as reproductive health. Read More