The Australian Council of Professions (ACoP) welcomes the call by key leaders for a more targeted approach to enabling gender equal opportunity across the professions.
There is mounting evidence to suggest that the COVID-19 pandemic has affected women more negatively across the professions than it has men. Issues that are driving this inequality have been centred around childcare, paid parental leave, paid family violence leave, and the ongoing case of the gender pay gap.
Nicola Forrest, co-founder of the Minderoo Foundation and convenor of the Prime Minister’s Community Business Partnership observes that progress on gender equality has slowed in the last decade and concludes that we have to make workforce participation easier for women, not harder. She argues that it comes down to supporting families so that women can re-enter the workforce, otherwise we may lose the participation of professional women which will negatively affect our GDP and national prosperity. Nicola also wants political parties to commit to an evidence-based early learning system for children from all levels of education and for educators to be compensated commensurately.
These sentiments resonate across multiple professional groups from political, business, community to First Nation leaders who are all calling for a range of critical actions. This includes the implementation of the 55 recommendations from federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins’ Respect@Work report. Also, medium to large organisations are encouraged to report indicators including the gender pay gap, cultural background figures and progress towards women-in-leadership targets, plus the implementation of the recommendations from the Indigenous women’s report Wiyi Yani U Thangani (Women’s Voices).
The Australian Council of Professions (ACoP) welcomes these developments and urges professional organisations to consider how and where they can enable change.
“We keep hearing about the economic benefits of diversity and inclusion across professional services, yet the fact we are still a long way off from equality, is concerning” says ACoP Head of Diversity, Culture and Inclusion Angelina Pillai.
ACoP is keen to further explorie this issue and will be holding a Roundtable event next year with particular emphasis on ‘Gender Deafness’. So stay tuned as we discuss, debate and engage in healthy discourse with our member organisations about how to enable change.
We invite all who are not members of ACoP to join our alliance of Professional Organisations as we work collectively to uphold the integrity of gender parity and the contribution it makes to Australia’s well-being and prosperity.
For more details, ring 1300 664 587 or contact CEO@Professions.org.au.