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A law on workplace gender equality is under review. Here’s what needs to change

Overlapping challenges at work

A growing body of research evidence shows people’s experiences in Australian workplaces are not shaped only by their gender. For example:

  • Indigenous women experience more pronounced barriers in the labour market, are in more precarious employment, and face a greater pay gap compared to Indigenous men and non-Indigenous women

  • only a fraction of culturally diverse women feel their leadership traits are recognised and their opinions respected at work

  • one in four culturally diverse women reported cultural barriers in the workplace had caused them to scale back at work

  • people with disability face challenges gaining and keeping employment, due to discrimination or a lack of flexible work arrangements.

Of course, none of us are simply “one thing”. If you are an Indigenous woman with a disability, who is also LGBTQ+, for example, your challenges can be compounded by overlapping forms of discrimination and structural barriers.

The Workplace Gender Equality Agency needs better data

The power of good data cannot be underestimated, and has been been key to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency’s leadership and influence in driving real policy change.

Yet, much is missing in the questions asked, the information gathered and surrounding our understanding of the lived experience of all women workers.

It’s time we changed the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 to ensure Australia gets the data it needs to create real change.

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