DEVELOPING AND MAINTAINING A GENDER EQUALITY STRATEGY

Successfully addressing gender equality within an organisation requires a strategic approach that aligns to your organisation’s overall vision, goals and plans, combined with a long term commitment.

Many organisations already have initiatives in place to increase gender equality and diversity. Any organisation with over 100 employees is required to submit an annual report to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency outlining current and planned initiatives. This is a great platform from which to further strengthen and embed the best practice principles outlined in this document.

Organisations with under 100 employees can equally benefit from the outcomes of implementing gender equality strategies and workplace initiatives. All organisations have access to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency tools and resources to support with developing and sustaining a gender equality strategy and related initiatives. 

 

Steps to take in developing and reviewing your gender equality workplace strategy include:

                              

·         Define your business case for gender equality and diversity

This should be tailored to your organisation’s circumstances and specific opportunities for improvement.

 

·         Obtain examples of existing strategies to use as a reference point

There are a number of examples of diversity and gender equality strategies available on the internet, including from government departments, which can be a useful reference point for continuous improvement and identifying best practice initiatives.

 

·         Establish goals and objectives for your strategy

The goals and objectives should be informed by the best practice principles outlined in this document, examples of similar relevant strategies you have sourced, and, importantly, tailored to your organisation’s circumstances and opportunities for improvement.

 

·         Identify indicators to measure progress

This will require capturing evidence (quantitative and qualitative) to demonstrate progress against set goals and objectives and may include using surveys, focus groups and obtaining feedback from employees through periodic meetings.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency has established a range of gender equality benchmarks for organisations that includes an annual industry benchmark report. This is a useful reference point to track progress in the context of the broader industry.

 

·         Consult and obtain input from leaders and employees

Obtain input and feedback from all employee groups regarding your proposed strategy and supporting goals, This may include undertaking a workplace survey to establish what is working well and what could be improved in relation to the existing workplace culture, gender equality initiatives, policies and guidelines etc.

 

·         Establish a diversity / gender equality working group

A working group will help maintain momentum in identifying initiatives, ensuring progress against identified goals and addressing challenges as they arise. Ideally it should have cross- organisational representation to both capture input from different sections of the business and to support initiatives within each business section. 

 

·         Communicate the strategy and supporting plans across the organisation

This can form part of the broader communications plan for raising and reinforcing awareness of the organisation’s commitment to gender equality and supporting workplace initiatives.

 

·         Set a timeframe for periodic reviews

Undertaking regular reviews (e,: once a year) will ensure that the strategy continues to align with any changes in legislation regarding employer requirements and leaders’ roles and responsibilities. A review also provides the opportunity to benefit from progress made by other organisations.

 

There are a number of resources and options available to support organisations with developing a dedicated strategy and supporting plans:

  • Workplace Gender Equality Agency
  • Diversity Council of Australia
  • Engage a consultant who specialises in developing diversity strategies – this can be especially helpful with identifying with tailoring plans to suit your organisation’s specific needs

 

For further information: