Posted by Luke Mitchell on 08 March 2016


Today, is International Women’s Day.   The 2016 theme is Pledge For Parity. 

While  many may consider "Parity" an issue more for developing nations where in the context of lifting  the living and education standards of women,  in Australia women continue to contribute to our cultural, social, economic and political landscape at a lower participation rate than many comparable developed nations. 

At the release of the Treasury's 2015 Intergenerational Report, former Treasurer  Joe Hockey stated that  “lifting Australia’s female participation rate to that of Canada would increase the size of the economy by $25 billion a year.”  The Report noted  the Australian female workforce participation rate as 4 percentage points lower than rates in both New Zealand and Canada. 

In recent times there have been positive steps taken to lift female participation in the workforce, such as  the implementation of maternity and parental leave, the Paid Parental Leave Scheme and flexible working arrangements. 

With the right attitude from all concerned, a flexible  workplace can be a driver towards gender parity. More fundamentally, the law requires employers to genuinely consider requests for flexible working arrangements (regardless of gender) and to ensure that they conduct themselves in a way that does not lead to differing treatment of employees based on gender or family responsibilities.  harmonious, supportive one for both employer and employees.  The Workplace Gender Equality Agency urges employers to consider the following to assist working towards greater equality for all staff members, regardless or gender:

  • Provide equal pay for women and men for work of equal or comparable value;

  • Remove barriers to the full and equal participation of women in the workforce;

  • Provide access to all occupations and industries, including leadership roles, for women and men; and

  • Eliminate discrimination on the basis of gender, particularly in relation tofamily and caring responsibilities for both women and men.

The workplace is the frontline in contributing to the positive endorsement and support of all workers.  On this International Women’s Day, we encourage you to pause and consider what your business can do to ensure that parity is more than a pledge, but a reality.