A new survey of 500 Aussie businesswomen by Executive Women Australia has revealed that 65 per cent of women believe Australia has fallen behind globally in the push to improve workplace gender diversity.
The survey also found that 57 per cent of women name equal pay policies in the workplace as one of the most important considerations politicians should be addressing in the upcoming federal election.
A further one in two women (51 per cent) labeled targets for gender representation at senior levels of government and corporations an important consideration, while a similar number identified flexible working hours for men and women (50 per cent).
EWA Executive Director Tara Cheesman says the results reflect a feeling of frustration amongst women, who want to see gender equality talk transformed into action.
“What we found was a large proportion of women who no longer feel Australia is at the forefront of gender diversity legislation,” Cheesman says. “Many believe we are now a considerable distance behind a range of European countries that are seeing quality results through deliberate top-tier gender initiatives, many of which include mandatory board quotas.
“We need a more proactive approach to motivate cultural change, and get to a position where all appointments are based on merit and experience, not gender. We need to build toward a future where government, business and women’s groups work together to solve the gender diversity issue in the workplace.”
The survey also revealed that 50 per cent of woman would be more likely to apply for an executive role with a company if they knew they set high gender diversity standards.
“Beyond the government’s policies to tackle workplace diversity, it is the broader steps like unbiased recruitment selection processes, setting internal targets, ensuring flexible working hours, improving the parental paid leave scheme and meeting the growing cost of childcare that will level the playing field, and allow women to pursue career opportunities,” Cheesman argues.
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