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Emma Watson – He for She – A Gender Equality Movement

I think Emma Watson spoke for all forward thinking people in our community when she inspired and moved the UN audience through her presentation in 2014. Her presentation to the UN was a nervous one, but one full of hope and expectation and was a call to action. Scroll to the end of this Blog to see her UN presentation. But here Emmsa speaks further about the ‘He for She’ movement on International Women’s day in 2015.

EWThe Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) in Australia recently released its groundbreaking research on gender equality. After you watch Emma, scroll down for fast facts from this significant research:

Fast Facts:

  • women comprise a quarter of management positions despite making up half the workforce;
  • Women are paid 24.7 per cent less than men who perform the same work;
  • 13.6 per cent of employers have a strategy for flexible working and only 7.1 per cent of employers have an articulated stand-alone strategy to achieve gender equality.

Just under half the 11000 employers covered by the report offered paid parental leave on top of the scheme introduced by the former Labor government.

Gender Equality Agency director Helen Conway said the message from the report was that “at every level the workplace pipeline is blocked for women”.

Key Findings:

  • While making up 48.5 per cent of the workforce, women account for just 35.8 per cent of full-time employees and only 17.3% of CEO/Head of Business positions
  • Men fill 76.24%of directorships, 88.12%of board chairmanships and 82.7% of chief executive positions.
  • The proportion of women declines as management levels approach the chief executive level, with women comprising less than 30% of CEOs’ direct report.
  • The gender pay gap is almost 19.9% for base pay but rises to almost 25 % for total remuneration.
  • The biggest total remuneration gender gap is in financial and insurance services (36.1 per cent), while the narrowest gap is in education and training (9.6 per cent).
  • While almost one in every two employers has a gender remuneration strategy, only 18.1 per cent have pay equity objectives as part of the strategy.

Discrimination in Australian Workplaces – Looking Into The Past Can Help

Looking into the past can help us in the present. It’s 1957. Imagine being in this jury room. A man’s life is on the line. You are one of 12 people deciding on his fate. You have just left the court room. You saw him in the Dock, and he appeared fearful and perhaps sad. The air in the jury room is thick with tension. You and your peers are confronted by a person who is vocal in his stereotyping of ‘these people’, and he seeks to gain support toward a decision he wants. What would you do? What leadership would you show?


 

I love this scene from ’12 Angry Men’ because it explores the risks created through discrimination and bias and it demonstrates the rallying power of leadership and objective challenge based on values. Discrimination in Australian workplaces continues to be a concern. The conversation around discrimination in this country has predominantly been around the treatment of our indigenous people. The problem however remains broader, as our research suggests:

14% of 5000 (1 in 7) working Australians surveyed by Risk to Business in 2011/12 reported experiencing discrimination at work.

  • The discrimination was verbal and mainly occurred during meetings (it was public, just like in the jury room)
  • It happens at all levels irrespective of position
  • It happened most during organisational restructure
  • The older we are the greater the risk
  • Those people felt angry and hurt
  • They felt:
    • upset and emotional
    • sad, depressed and had suicidal thoughts
    • unsupported, alone and undervalued
    • would leave their job if they could
  • 15% reported victimisation when they raised a concern
  • Only 14% of respondents reported that their organisation made things better (86% did nothing or made things worse)

The cost?

  • 14% reported reduced productivity
  • 15% took 1 to 5 days sick leave
  • 12% took 6 to 10 days sick leave
  • 13% took 11 to 30 days sick leave
  • 10% took more than 30 days sick leave
  • 36% took no time reporting reduced motivation
  • observers who saw discrimination reported reduced productivity and motivation
  • Loss of team based trust and engagement is harder to measure

Of the workers reporting discrimination, the industry sectors they were working in at the time were represented from highest to lowest as:

  • Emergency Services and the Resources sectors;
  • Health;
  • Transport;
  • Government, Business & Finance, and Professional Services sectors;
  • Energy, Retail, and Hospitality;

I believe we can do better.  What values do you apply through your leadership. Change happens through leadership at every level, processes and systems. Change happens through how we talk about discrimination as a community, and change happens through policy, regulation and enforcement. We all have a voice that we can use for good or for bad. The choice is ours. The standard we pass by is the standard we adopt.

Rushing to the urgent; forgetting the important.

An open source opportunity

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Recently I attended the AHRI in focus conferences and spoke about workplace bullying in Australia. It was an energising and insightful experience to share what I know from my career working in social justice.

Practitioners approached me lamenting what happens when something does go pear shaped in their workplace. Each story had a common theme, their day, their week disappeared when they got a phone call about a workplace complaint. Everything they were doing had to be dropped to focus on the urgent issue.

I found myself reflecting this frustration on rushing to urgent issues and not being able to work on the important strategic HR issues.

I asked myself ‘How can I support practitioners do their best work?’ So many things cascaded in my mind and too many to mention all at once here.

I then asked how can I share what I know – in a simple step that is ‘open source’ my expertise in the way the tech industry collaborates on ideas.

It has taken some time to put together but here is my open source audit tool – which covers all the basic areas needing to be considered in line with the current legislation.

If my ‘open source audit tool goes to plan it should result in my overworked HR peers having a deeper understanding of his or her ‘duty of care’ – and in so doing maybe minimizing the number of times that his or her day get’s hijacked by the urgent – rather than focusing on the important.

Please feel free to share it.

Open Source HR Risk Audit Tool

 

 

 

 

 

 

Workplace Bullying Report featured in The Punch

Read this commentary on our national research by Miles Heffernen of The Punch:

http://www.thepunch.com.au/articles/a-shocking-report-why-the-workplace-bully-is-winning/

 

Risk to Business is now offering clients a FREE Workplace Behaviour Risk Audit Survey to measure Risk Compliance.

Once you complete the survey we’ll come back to you with a complimentary compliance consultation.