Gender Equality

Topics: Gender, Gender equality, Australia Pages: 3 (1123 words) Published: March 7, 2014
Gender equality in the workplace is not a priority for business today. In the workplace context the term gender equality refers to equality between men and women with respect to opportunities, treatment, and outcomes including both economic and social achievements. It encompasses a range of considerations including equality of representation in the workforce, types of work performed, access to equal pay, representation at management and board level, childcare, workplace flexibility, equal opportunity and anti-discrimination policies. The economic participation of women is increasingly seen as vital to long term prosperity with women making up most of the talent pool and having unprecedented economic influence (Wittenberg-Cox & Maitland, 2009, p1). Despite significant gender related imbalances in the workplace, businesses have failed to make gender equality a priority. This essay focusses on the Australian context and outlines three arguments supporting the assertion that gender equality is not a priority for business, namely that companies have been slow to appoint females to board positions, have failed to be proactive in implement adequate equal opportunity policies and have not eliminated income disparities between the sexes. Firstly, the low proportion of women in board positions in Australia demonstrates that gender equality is not a priority for business. The percentage of women on boards is a benchmark of progress towards gender equality because it measures the influence women have in the key decision making processes of companies. Furthermore, the scarcity of women directors is illustrative of the broader economic disadvantage experienced by women. For example, Braund notes that in 2011, fewer than five percent of board positions in the largest three hundred Australian companies were occupied by women (2012, para. 11). Key figures from the Reibey Institute indicate that half of the largest five hundred Australian companies have no women on their board...
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