Eowa Calls For Gender Equality Standards 1

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23rd October 2009, 07:04pm - Views: 1008

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media release

23 October 2009

EOWA calls for gender equality standards

In its submission to the review of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace (EOWW)

Act (1999) and Agency, EOWA has made a series of recommendations to increase the pace of

cultural change in Australian workplaces to improve outcomes for women.

Despite many improvements in the lives of working women since the legislation was introduced,

Director Mairi Steele believes that progress has stalled and the approach to equal opportunity

that resulted from the 1998 review is no longer driving improvements. 

“One of the Agency’s major concerns about the existing legislation is that about one third of

organisations covered by the Act are not meeting their responsibilities by reporting to

Government on what they are doing to improve equal opportunities for women at work. This is

wholly unacceptable and addressing it is one of the Agency’s main priorities in this review” she


“We recommend that the focus of the Act and the Agency remain on women but that there

should be recognition that gender equality at work is about women and men. Until more men

access workplace flexibility, these arrangements will continue to be seen as ‘solutions’ to the

‘problem’ of women’s employment rather than a means of supporting employees in managing

their full range of responsibilities.”

The Agency recommends that industry-based gender equality standards are developed to help

business progress from low or mediocre standards to better or best practice.

“We want to help business dip into the ‘too hard’ basket and address head-on the problems of

pay equity and women’s development and advancement at work.” 

EOWA’s recommendations include:

Renaming the legislation the Workplace Equality Act to recognise that the removal of

sex-based barriers to equal opportunity affects both women and men

Strengthened reporting requirements to ensure genuine workplace consultation takes

place between employers and employees 


requirement that employers complete a Gender Equality Self-Audit against a series

of specified gender equality standards that are set in discussion with industry 

A requirement for businesses to show progress over time

Introducing the facility to report online and a making the self audit report available to

employees and relevant unions

Phased in workplace audits for organisations that do not meet their reporting

obligations and where the Agency believes there is some misrepresentation

Making pay equity analysis and addressing of pay inequality compulsory


Media enquiries should be directed to;

Nicole Parsons 0412 505 854 or Rebecca Barnes 0411 482 738

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