All workplaces have the power to make changes that will support progress towards gender equality in our society.
Every workplace conversation, policy and action has the potential to either reinforce or challenge gender inequality and the kinds of attitudes and norms that drive violence. All workplaces can influence the structures, norms and practice that support ongoing gender inequality in Australia.
Despite progress in workplace equality and women’s participation, there is still a large gender pay gap and inequities both at home and at work.
The power of policies and practices
Workplace policies and practices can perpetuate gender inequality by devaluing, excluding or marginalising women. This can result in bias unconsciously steering decision making or the status quo of gender inequality being preserved. On the other hand, workplaces can drive change by developing policies and practices that proactively support women and men to equally share care responsibilities and unpaid work, take up senior roles and be economically independent.
Positively influencing culture and attitudes
Peer relationships and stereotypes can be formed and shaped in the workplace, so what an organisation accepts and rewards will influence attitudes, beliefs and behaviours.
Workplaces have a key opportunity to counter persistent beliefs and attitudes that perpetuate gender inequality including the attitude that:
- One in 7 Australians do not agree that women are as capable as men in politics and in the workplace.1
- Nearly one quarter of Australians see no harm in telling sexist jokes.2
- One in 3 think it is natural for a man to want to appear in control of his partner in front of his male friends.3
Likewise, in their interactions with stakeholders, workplaces can use their status and influence to challenge stereotypes and speak out against sexual harassment and violence.