The Australian Government recently launched ‘Balancing the Future: Australian Public Service Gender Equality Strategy 2016–19‘.
The Strategy “sets out actions for driving high performance and boosting productivity in the Australian Public Service (APS). It is a strategy for harnessing the best talent, changing cultures, and challenging assumptions that hold us back.”
On Wednesday 11 May 2016 I sent the following email to firstname.lastname@example.org:
“The statement below extracted from your report only provides one supporting reference, a dead hyperlink to a WGEA paper. The WGEA is notable as an organisation that employs almost no men (despite espousing the need for gender balance), and for its strong feminist bias.
“A growing body of research shows that:
- organisations with the most gender equality outperform those with the least,
- increasing the proportion of women in leadership roles is associated with better financial performance, and
- gender equality in teams promotes an environment where innovation can flourish.”
Are you able to provide any concrete examples of this “growing body of research” you speak of? I am not aware of any studies that show anything more than some correlation between, for example, business performance and the presence of senior female managers. Refer http://www.fighting4fair.com/uncategorized/companies-with-women-at-the-helm-perform-better-afeministsaidso/
The other factor that I would appreciate some feedback about is the practical meaning of “gender equality” in the report. It seems that the meaning used only considers the female side of the equation, that is gender equality exists at any point beyond 50% female participation.
Therefore, for example, an organisation comprising 75% female staff is portrayed as gender equal, despite the fact that from a male perspective the situation is not equal at all. Moreover it would seem that even when more than 50% staff overall are female, unless the most well-remunerated ranks of the organisation are also 50%+ female, then there is still not gender equality. This certainly does give the impression that the report itself suffers from a significant degree of gender bias.
I look forward to receiving your response at your earliest convenience. Thank you”
Now, dear readers, let’s sit back with a cup of tea and see what (if anything) they come back with.
Check back later as I’ll post any response here.
On 17 May 2016 I received the following response:
In relation to your other query, the Strategy seeks to address gender imbalance across the APS, at all classifications and in all agencies—no matter the direction of any current imbalance. Agencies are expected to set stretch targets for gender equality across all leadership levels and business areas in the context of their existing gender distribution. The Strategy also emphasises increased access to flexible work arrangements for all employees, regardless of gender.
I hope this information is useful to you.
Diversity Policy – Employment policy Group
Australian Public Service Commission”
A number of the additional references cited are already listed in my blog post referred to earlier, and are not considered as providing conclusive evidence that female management was the *cause* of improved organisational performance. I look forward to reviewing the additional references provided, of which I was previously unaware.