Thankfully, Australia, along with many countries have progressed significantly toward workplace gender equality.
So, what does workplace gender equality really mean? In essence, it is when all team members are able to access the same opportunities, incentives, rewards and resources, regardless of how they identify.
Why is Gender Equality important?
The most important and obvious reason is acceptance. People want to know that they are accepted for who they are. End. Of. Story.
On the financial spectrum, employees want to know that they are paid the same as their colleagues and that any discrepancies are based on their skills, experience and education, not how they identify.
For business owners the benefits of workplace diversity are becoming more and more evident. Studies have shown that more diverse teams possess a greater depth of knowledge and the ability to view issues from a number of different angles. This is a big plus for business owners!
It doesn’t happen overnight
Whilst gender equality and diversity are good in theory, it doesn’t just happen. When you’re running a business, the vision for equality and diversity needs to be built from the ground up and most importantly, you need to lead by example.
Every element of your business needs to be considered. Think about a few of these key points to get you started in creating a more diverse and gender equal workplace:
- Do you have policies in place for gender equality?
- What are the gender balance statistics in your business?
- Do you encourage self-expression?
- How do you communicate with your team members?
- How do you approach recruiting and gender equality?
- Do you consider gender when you determine pay rates?
- Are you aware of your conscious or unconscious bias in relation to genders in certain roles?
Who can help?
The aim of gender equality in the workplace is to achieve broadly equal opportunities and outcomes for all. The Workplace Gender Equality Agency is an Australian Government statutory agency that:
- promotes and improves workplace gender equality
- administers the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Act).
The Act’s main goals are to:
- promote and improve workplace gender equality, including equal remuneration between women and men
- promote consultation between employers and employees about workplace gender equality
- recognise women’s disadvantage in the workforce and help employers remove barriers that stop them from fully and equally participating
- encourage employers to end gender discrimination, including for family and caring responsibilities
- boost Australian business productivity and competitiveness by advancing workplace gender equality
Keep in mind that as a business owner, it is important that building a gender equal and diverse workplace impacts not only your business and your clients, but the broader community.
The Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 requires non-public sector employers with 100 or more employees (‘relevant employers’) to submit a report to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency between 1 April and 31 May each year for the preceding 12-month period (1 April – 31 March each year).
When reporting, all employees (headcount, not full-time equivalent) should be counted across all subsidiaries employing staff in Australia, this includes:
- casual and
- temporary employees.
- Independent contractors (i.e. not employed by the organisation) are not included in the headcount.
Click here to read how to register your company for the purposes of reporting.