As International Women’s Day continues to be celebrated across the nation this week with an abundance of events, newsletters, speeches, discussions and banners inviting us to either #EmbraceEquity or #CrackTheCode, there is still an insurmountable amount of work that needs to be undertaken in order for Australia to empower impactful diversity and equality across our professional landscapes.
While International Womens Day (IWD) is a stark reminder in which gender equal issues are brought to light, it should also serve as a warning that professionals need to equally demonstrate their commitment and success in achieving targets, raising awareness, taking action and measuring their performance by meaningfully redefining what change represents across social, economic, and cultural codes of professional practice.
The Federal Government’s Status of Women Report Card – 2023 strategy announced on IWD 2023, aims at tracking progress on a range of key issues on gender equality in an annual ‘Report Card’ by collecting data, engaging with that data, measuring progress and holding ourselves accountable for achieving impact.
Some of the findings of the Report Card reveal that Australia is sadly ranked 43rd for gender equality internationally compounded by statistics such as the 13.3% pay gap for full time weekly wages; 30% of Australian men who don’t believe inequality exists compared to the global average of 21%; the reality that due to this workplace inequality women end up with 23.1% less superannuation than men the same age on average; and other high level statistics on harassment which coincides with the introduction of new laws this week on workplace sexual harassment reforms. The situation for First Nations and culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) women is even more dire…
So, have we really shifted the pendulum of change on gender equity?
Put simply, ‘No’. In fact, the pendulum of progress on gender equality appears to be going backwards, not advancing. According to the UN’s secretary general, António Guterres, global gender equality is still 300 years away. In a speech before the UN Commission on the Status of Women to coincide with IWD, he called for “collective action” worldwide by all sectors – public, private, government, academia – by investing in “gender-responsive” education, training, employment with a focus on the digital environment.
ACoP is calling on all professionals to step up and act. As a collective Council of professionals, we have an immense opportunity – and obligation – to facilitate change in as many ways as possible. But it requires a lot less talk, and a lot more action for 2024’s Report Card to unveil a better set of statistics.