DCA's next Gender Equality Network, sponsored by KPMG and taking place on Wednesday 28 February, promises a lot.
You’ll hear from two speakers who’ll show new ways to harness the power of gender equality, both from an Australian and global perspective.
Professor Emerita Linda Haas from the Indiana University in the United States will explore Sweden’s experiences promoting and enabling shared care, and she will discuss gender equality – something that has “yet to be achieved in Australia”, according to Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Kate Jenkins.
Ms Jenkins will also outline her key priorities on the day. But which topics should you come schooled on? What is the way forward? And what are the top priorities at a national level?
Priority #1: Violence against women and girls
On this, the Commissioner promises to “challenge everyday sexism and low level sexual harassment where we live, work, learn and play”, as well as to conduct the Commission’s fourth sexual harassment prevalence survey in 2018.
The last survey, done in 2012, showed:
- 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men had been sexually harassed in the workplace
- Nearly four out of five (79%) harassers were men. Ninety per cent (90%) of women were harassed by a man and 61% of men said they were harassed by a man
Speaking at the Women in Film and TV Safer Workplaces Strategies forum in December last year, she said, “As Sex Discrimination Commissioner I am determined to use my platform to advocate for change, in the hope that we can prevent these behaviours from occurring in the future.”
Priority #2: Women’s economic security and empowerment
According to the 2017 World Economic Forum Global Gender Gap Report, Australia ranks 42nd in women’s economic participation and opportunity. Improvement must be made. And in this area, the Commissioner will educate employers on the rights and obligations in the workplace related to pregnancy, parental leave and return to work, all with the aim of raising awareness of the levers that affect women’s economic security through their lifetime.
Advocacy in this area will challenge the structural and cultural barriers that affect Australia’s working mothers and parents. Think: parental leave, superannuation, flexible work, childcare, and sharing of unpaid work. Promoting the benefits of reducing gender-segregated workforces is also a focus.
Priority #3: Diversity in leadership
Here, it’s all about diversity in decision making. The Commissioner aims to advocate for improved representation of women and girls in political, corporate, sporting and organisational leadership roles, promoting opportunities for women and girls to have their voices heard at a local, national and international level.
In business especially, allies will play a key part. The Commissioner vows to Work with the Male Champions of Change to improve the representation of women in leadership positions and in non-traditional roles across their organisations.
With that in mind, you might like to bring along an ally to the event, where you can dive deeper into these topics – and put your questions to Kate Jenkins and Linda Haas.