Diversity, Culture and Inclusion? On IWD 2021, let’s start with including Culturally Diverse Women!

There are so many facets to diversity. Diversity is a broad-based area that comprises of gender, LGBTIQA+, race, ethnicity, migration status, age and disability to name a few. In the context of International Womens Day 2021, we asked Angelina Pillai, CEO of the Association of Consulting Architects, to share with us her reflections on these challenges.

“Knowing what diversity means is one thing. Knowing how to address diversity is another. And that is what inclusion is. The ‘how’. How are we, you and the wider professions, addressing these issues and embedding diversity and inclusive culture principles in your workplaces, in your teams and as part of your professional duty?

My first anthropology assignment at Adelaide University back in 1990 was to critically analyse Sherry Ortner’s feminist literature asking the question, Is Female to Male as Nature is to Culture? (1974). Once I recovered from the mild conniption that I suffered as a fresh international student from Malaysia where critically analysing anything, let alone an expert who has spent the best part of their life researching their work was considered an academic crime; I realised that there was more to this than I wanted to believe at the time.

There is so much to unpack here, but I won’t go into the details of her work, as I don’t recall being overly affected by those findings then and I would much rather forget the miserable mark I suffered in 1990 as a result of not ‘critically analysing’ anything in that piece. And secretly, I thought things would be different when I hit middle-age. Then I hit middle-age and reflected on my own upbringing in an International Women’s Day message on the importance of seeing strong women leaders in public life, and the need to push for basic human rights for all, not just women. Similarly, my International Men’s Day reflections spoke to a similar theme.

But decades on, the story is still the same and the pendulum of culture has not really swung. Sherry Ortner may have written about the nature-culture dichotomy in an era when women as a class were struggling for recognition and validation of their differences, however, the issues around gender, inclusivity, equality, equity, diversity and respect are rife now more so than ever. Women are still nowhere near where we should be with representation at the board table, community leadership, workforce participation, politics and the never-ending saga of the gender pay gap, to name but a few battles we face.

The recent alleged cases plaguing Parliament are just the tip of the iceberg and as we examine the unimaginable inequalities that have been haunting women, we unravel a compelling feature of our society that needs urgent action. I will refrain from regurgitating the plethora of these news and media stories on gender pay gap, sexual harassment and injustices of women’s rights as there are too many to cite. But are these matters of plain ignorance, blatant or unconscious biases, discrimination, lack of professional integrity and ethics or just bad luck? One could argue that they are a combination of all and then some…”

Over the course of the coming months, ACoP through its Diversity, Culture and Inclusion Portfolio Committee will be working with thought leaders and experts in discussing, debating and delivering outcomes across the range of diversity, culture and inclusion principles. Part of this initiative will see a series of Round-Tables and panel discussions that are aimed at ensuring diversity, culture and inclusion are at the forefront of professional practice as we dissect these policy and advocacy areas to establish the core priorities in support of this agenda.

For more details on the work of our Diversity, Culture and Inclusion Portfolio Committee please contact us on 1300 664 587 or CEO@Professioms.org.au.

ACoP delivers Invited Workshop on Ethics in Data Analytics

In its Year of the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism, the Australian Council of Professions was invited to deliver a Professionalism and Ethics Workshop at the Health Informatics and Knowledge Management Conference (HIKM 2021) within the 2021 Australasian Computer Science Week (ASCW).

With the COVID-19 pandemic causing upsurges and urgencies in collecting and analysing health data, the issue of managing and using this data in a professional and ethical manner arises. It is necessary to both comply with current privacy legislation and to maintain the public’s confidence and willingness to provide information. The Workshop explored these questions and posited suitable strategies that support these collection requirements while maintaining ethical and professional standards.

Key discussion points were:

  • New health data collection requirements due to COVID-19
  • New types of data collected due to COVID-19
  • New uses of the collected data
  • Issues posed by these new requirements, types and uses of health data
  • Overview of applicable existing legislation and regulations
  • Overview of applicable ethical and professional best practices

Hosted by the University of Otago, New Zealand, the Workshop was well-attended and the topical discussions were lively and very interactive. The Workshop presenters ACoP President Klaus Veil and ACoP Head of the Professionalism Portfolio Dr Ruth Ferraro outlined a number of practical ethical problem situations and answered the many questions from the audience.

Workshop details are at www.ACSW.org.au/events/2021-hikm-practical-ethical-and-professional-considerations-in-health-data-analytics-tutorial.

For access to the recording of the Workshop, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or at CEO@Professions.org.au.

ACoP welcomes Return to Fact-Based Policy-Making

The Australian Council of Professions welcomes the US administration’s return to making policies based on science and evidence-based facts. The commitments made by US President Joe Biden in his inauguration speech raise substantial hope that the United States will now be able to more effectively counter and mitigate the serious health and environmental challenges it has faced in recent times.

In his speech from the Capitol, newly inaugurated President Joe Biden committed to “the common objects that define Americans… Opportunity, Security, Liberty, Dignity, Respect, Honor and, yes, the Truth.” He further stated “And each of us has a duty and responsibility – especially as leaders – to defend the truth and to defeat the lies.

Keen to start the new approach without delay, President Biden then signed 17 executive orders, including making mask-wearing compulsory in areas of federal jurisdiction, re-joining the Paris Climate Accord and bringing the US back into the World Health Organizsation (WHO) while appointing distinguished expert Dr Fauci as head of the US delegation. Biden also rolled back many of the recent actions that disregarded science, the environment and public health experts.

I am impressed that newly-inaugurated President Biden wasted no time in actioning a substantial number of decisions based on the advice of the team of scientists and professionals that he has assembled since his election in November 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic and climate change emergencies require urgent fact-based actions.” said ACoP President Klaus Veil. “This sounds like a clear wake-up-call for politicians and the public to again listen to and take the advice of experts. What a great inspiration for our Year of the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism!

President Biden also clearly stated during the remote swearing-in of over 1000 of his staff: “If you’re ever working with me and I hear you treat another colleague with disrespect, talk down to someone, I promise I will fire you on the spot. On the spot! Everybody is entitled to be treated with decency.” He also issued orders ensuring that Americans are again protected from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and/or sexual orientation. ACoP Vice-President and professionalism advocate Julie Strous observed that this sets a refreshing tone for the culture of the Biden administration. “With the demonstrated commitment to science – and evidence-based policies, this again creates an environment where truth and facts determine strategies and their implementations, not political convenience, racism and misogyny” Dr Strous said.

For more information on the Year of the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or CEO@Professions.org.au!

2021 – Professions, Professionals and Professionalism

2020 saw unprecedented challenges for Australians and their institutions. Faced with an unknown virus pandemic, the public and governments trusted the Chief Medical/Health Officers as professionals providing science-based, ethical and responsible thought-leadership and advice to survive this threat to lives and livelihoods.

We are celebrating our 50-year anniversary by declaring 2021 as the “Year of the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism“.  We will use our anniversary to engage with the broader community and public to advocate for the purpose and value of the professions, professionals and professionalism.
With our member organisations we will plan, coordinate and convene events large and small throughout 2021 that will exemplify the value of the professions, their professionals and professionalism.  We will also be working with exemplars of various professions to champion the importance of individuals and governments following the evidence-based advice of professionals in difficult times which includes leveraging the profile that the Chief Medical/Health Officers have gained over the last 10 months in the public eye as trusted advisers and leaders in the pandemic.

Activities have included:

For more information on the Year of the Professions, Professionals and Professionalism, please contact us on 1300 664 587 or CEO@Professions.org.au!

Chartered Accountants ANZ join Council of Professions

We are delighted to welcome the Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) as a professional association member, further broadening our reach into the accounting profession. CA ANZ represents more than 128, 000 financial professionals, supporting them to build value and make a difference to the businesses, organisations and communities in which they work and live.

Chartered Accountants are uniquely equipped to see the bigger picture. This perspective which comes from the depth, breadth and rigour of their training, their commitment to an ethical code, their future vision and their care for the wider community.

CA ANZ promotes high ethical standards, delivers world-class services and professional education and training to members, and advocates for the public good. “We welcome the Chartered Accountants back into our community of professional associations.  They will substantially increase the accounting professionals that we represent through our member organisations.  Considering the challenges facing Australian small and medium enterprises as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, accounting professionals are playing a vital role in Australia’s economic recovery and transformation.” said ACoP Board President Klaus Veil.

We are delighted to join the Australian Council of Professions,” said CA ANZ Group Executive of Education & Learning Simon Hann. “Our research found that accounting is one of the most trusted professions with over three quarters of the Australian and New Zealand public saying they had higher levels of trust in an accountant who is a member of a professional accounting body. We look forward to working closely with ACoP to ensure we maintain and build trust in the profession particularly as many businesses look to Chartered Accountants to help them reset and recover from the pandemic.

With the membership of Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ), ACoP now represents over 930,000 professionals through its member organisations.

Welcome Back, Chartered Accountants ANZ!

Professionalism Researcher Strengthens ACoP’s Thought Leadership

As we look into further strengthening our thought leadership in 2021, the Australian Council of Professions have engaged a key resource to help us deliver additional services to our members.

We would like to introduce you to Ruth Ferraro PhD Fellow ARPI GAICD who has joined our Office of the CEO to head the Professionalism Portfolio.

Ruth’s interest in the phenomenon of professions and professionalism was sparked in the early 2000s where she undertook a “Can we Educate for Professionalism?” project for the emergent financial planning profession. Ruth then undertook PhD research at the Work-based Learning Institute, Middlesex University UK entitled “From the intransitive to the transitive – emerging the Australian tax profession as a profession in its own right” which she intends to utilise in a number of our projects. “With over 25 years in executive roles in education with 20 of those years spent in membership bodies for a wide range of professions: medical sub-specialisation, law, accounting, financial planning, etc. I have gained a deep insight into the life-cycle and maturity of professions.” says Ruth.

One of Ruth’s first activities will be to lead the Emerging Professions initiative, which we have created following conversations with existing and prospective members. This input has highlighted that new professions and professionals moving into new areas of practice have created interesting challenges. Ruth’s other activities will be to create and action high-level communications in the domain of professionalism as well as assisting ACoP in its thought leadership and engagement with high-level individuals and organisations.

I am delighted that Ruth has joined us at a time where the purpose, value and maturity of professions has very much moved into the public eye. The emergence of the concepts of ‘alternative facts’ and ‘fake news’ as well as the healthcare and climate challenges in the last 12 months make the public’s clear understanding of the role and value of professionals, their ethics and professionalism in difficult times all the more important” said President Klaus Veil.

Read more about Ruth’s background at www.linkedin.com/in/dr-ruth-ferraro-gaicd-fellow-arpi-1074408/

Welcome Ruth!

Geoscience Professionals join Council of Professions

The Australian Council of Professions is delighted to welcome the Australian Institute of Geoscientists (AIG) as a professional association member, further broadening and strengthening our membership and reach.

The AIG is a dynamic, member-focussed professional institute that represents more than 2,500 professional geoscientists: geologists, geophysicists and other Earth scientists working in industry, government, education and research across Australia.

AIG President Mr Andrew Waltho welcomes AIG being accepted as a member of ACoP.  “The AIG board recognises that geoscience in Australia is not alone in facing a number of challenges in areas including professional accreditation and recognition, maintenance of educational standards both through formal university studies and continued professional development and education (CPD/CPE) and enhancing public confidence in professionals through enforceable standards of professional practice and ethics.” Mr Waltho also said that by joining ACoP, AIG seeks to both bring in an understanding of the professional issues facing Australian geoscience and learn from the experience of other ACoP members in their respective fields of practice.  “Many professional issues facing AIG are not unique to geoscience” Mr Waltho said.

We welcome the geoscience profession to our community of professional associations, they will further broaden the scope of professions that we represent.  Working in the resources sector, geoscientists are an important part of our exporting industries and will play a vital role in Australia’s economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.” said ACoP Board President Klaus Veil.

Mr Waltho also noted that the current ACoP policy areas of education, accreditation and employability, professionalism and ethics and diversity and inclusion are directly relevant to AIG’s members and central to the future of the geoscience professions in Australia. “We are looking forward to a mutually beneficial and productive relationship through being able to share ideas and experiences with other ACoP members” he said.

Welcome Australian Institute of Geoscientists!