Gender scorecard failure

Monica Wilkie

29 November 2019 | Ideas@TheCentre

Victoria’s champions of workplace ‘gender equality’ have decided the best way to achieve their goals is to threaten employers with legal action.

The Andrews Government want public sector bosses who breach — currently undefined — ‘gender equality targets’ to face punishment that could see them in court for the alleged pervasive “sexism” in the Victorian Public Service.

But this concern is not confined to the ‘woke’ Victorians.  The Workplace Gender Equality Agency has recently released a seemingly impressive, but ultimately vacuous report.

Australia’s ‘gender equality scorecard’  — a measure of female workforce participation, pay, and representation in leadership roles — shows that women are advancing in the workplace.

Even the gender pay-gap — the comparison of average full time earnings for men and women — is getting smaller, However, this yardstick is meaningless because as even WGEA admits in their fine print, it does not measure like-for-like jobs.

But, apparently this progress isn’t good enough.

The Director of WGEA Libby Lyons is “disappointed.” The pace of change is apparently too slow and “We need systematic change at every single level of every single organisation.”

Victoria looks like it has already begun work on a full revolutionary gender equality manifesto, but Lyons and the ABC have also brainstormed some ideas.

They have suggested that superannuation companies and shareholders could threaten to take their money elsewhere if companies fail to boost the number of female CEOs or board members.

Financially coercing companies might seem extreme. But when you think women are consciously and unconsciously biased against at every turn in the workplace, and that meritocracy is a myth, using financial leverage to advance your agenda seems mild.

In fact, coercion already seems to be in the WGEA’s DNA.

The data collected for the ‘scorecard’ is not voluntarily offered. Non-public sector employers with over 100 employees are required to hand over a raft of data to the WGEA — non-compliance can result in the loss of government tenders or grants.

So, the WGEA already appear very comfortable for companies who do not comply with their demands to lose opportunities and money.

But what further demands will be made to ensure the ‘systematic change’ apparently required?

It is fair to ask whether the WGEA has an end goal in mind. Their mission is to ensure ‘gender equality.’ But does that mean every workplace — at every level — has to be 50/50 men and women?

Perhaps, more importantly, what further penalties are they willing to introduce to achieve ‘gender equality’?

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