Australian Workplaces at Turning Point for Gender Quality, Report States


Workplace gender equality is improving in Australia but more action is needed to ensure momentum for change keeps growing, a new report has found.

A biennial progress report released by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency showed while Australia’s world-leading workplace reporting program had made a difference, progress on equality had stalled over the past two years.

For the first time, there was no reduction in the gender pay gap which remained at 22.8 percent.

The report also found in the construction and real estate industries, the gender pay gap had increased since 2013/14.

Agency director Mary Wooldridge said while laws allowed for the development of Australia’s innovative gender equality dataset, the slowing pace of change showed a new approach was needed.

Wooldridge said the report was a detailed analysis of where more work needed to be done and acted as an important tool for accountability.

“We are at a turning point in our work and in the state of workplace gender equality in Australia,” Wooldridge said.

“The past two years have been a time of reflection on what has worked and strategic thinking about what needs to change to accelerate the rate of improvement.”

Recent law changes will allow the gender equality agency to publish employer gender pay gaps and collect more detailed information relating to sexual harassment and discrimination.

Wooldridge said Australian employers would play a critical role in achieving gender equality.

“International experience shows that publishing employer gender pay gaps leads companies to prioritise gender equality and to a lowering of pay gaps,” Wooldridge said.

“Improved transparency and accountability will also better equip employees—and potential employees—with the information they need to make informed decisions about their own employment and improves their bargaining position.”

In the past 10 years, Australia’s gender pay gap has fallen from 28.6 percent to 22.8 percent and the proportion of female CEOs has increased by five percentage points.

The report found nearly four in five employers have a strategy in place to support gender equality, up 11.5 percentage points from 2013/14.


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