Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Australia - a land of opportunity - but is opportunity equal for all?

Networkers, if you see the above logo on the website of a business or company, please explore.  This logo comes from the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency.  The agency started life as the Affirmative Action Agency and has morphed into EOWWA.  The act governing the agency is the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Act of 1999. The current minister is the Hon Kate Ellis

Thousands of Australian women work in places which do not qualify as employers of choice for women - and, Networkers, you might be surprised at who some of these employers are.  

The response of the Australian Government has always been non-punitive and seeks to bring employers onward and upward by encouragement and bringing to the fore those doing the right thing so that there can be leadership by example.

Well, that's not good enough for Miss Eagle.  She's the impatient sort.  Some organisations have been dilly-dallying and shilly-shallying for far too long.  Australia passed the Sex Discrimination Act in 1984 to give effect to Australia's obligations under the Convention to Eliminate Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW).We are now in the year 2010, twenty-six years on from the first act and fifteen years since the second.  One could be excused for thinking that change is long, long overdue for women in Australian workplaces.  Men have been on notice for more than a quarter of a century to get the gender balance and equity right.  Arguably, only wars or their aftermath take longer than this - and I can hear the voices of agreement saying that, for some, this is a war of attrition.

As examples Miss Eagle would draw attention to the leading construction company who, in a time when universities are churning out female engineers, lawyers, and MBAs, manages not to have one female (and that would not be good enough for Miss Eagle either) on its board.  Meanwhile, one of its subsidiary companies manages to be awarded. Funny that!  

And it could pay, Networkers, to delve into your public transport companies.  And you need not be fooled by the numbers of women in such employment.  Have a look and see what classifications women are employed in - and what opportunities (or lack of opportunities)  they have.  Miss Eagle is always happy to hear from women in other industries who might wish to advise of their circumstances.  These two industries are merely glaring examples which require further examination.  They are not lone rangers.  And, please note, I have spoken only of gender, in this instance.  I haven't delved into lack of employment opportunities based on race, ethnicity, religion, culture, disability.....

2010 EOWA 
Finalists by Industry
Construction Services
Distribution & Sales/Wholesale
Education & Training
Employment Services/Employment & Training

Financial and Insurance Services
Health Care & Social Assistance


Legal Services



Scientific Research Services

Award 1: Leading CEO for the Advancement of Women
Award 2: Diversity Leader for the Advancement of Women
Award 3: Leading Organisation for the Advancement of Women (<800 employees)
Award 4: Leading Organisation for the Advancement of Women (>800 employees)
Award 5: Outstanding EEO Practice for the Advancement of Women in a Non-Traditional Area/Role
Award 6: The Minister’s Award for Outstanding EEO Initiative/Result for the Advancement of Women

EOWA’s 2010 Business Achievement Awards were sponsored by
Australian Industry Group, Commonwealth Bank of Australia, ExxonMobil Australia, Freehills, IBM Australia Limited
and McDonalds Australia

Please note:
Please see Belinda's comments below.
I have included the link in the Media Release under "Further Reading" on the right.

Further reading:
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