Victoria Cabinet Ministry One Step Closer to Gender Equality

Victorian Cabinet Ministry One Step Closer to Gender Equality

The recent announcement late last year of Daniel Andrew’s “most diverse cabinet in Australia” with nine women and 13 men is a step in the right direction of gender diversity.

Gender diversity is important for many reasons. Having more women in a team of decision-makers achieves better results for the people they serve and an increasing amount of research shows gender balanced leadership teams are better performing and more profitable.

Yet the most recent statistics for women in leadership positions in corporate Australia and in the Federal Cabinet are still dismally low. In Tony Abbott’s cabinet, as we know, there is only one woman in his team of 19 ministers.

When our corporates and governments serve a population of 50% men and 50% women, we still have a long way to go to see that the population is accurately reflected in the decision making leadership levels of this country.

The benefits of a gender diverse leadership team include:

  • Participative decision making: Women have strong people skills and their leadership style is often more inclusive and collaborative, bringing a wider range of views and considerations into a final outcome. Being community minded women will generally seek solutions that benefit the wider audience and the longer term.
  • Getting the best people to the table: Australian women are amongst the most highly educated in the world with Australia ranked first for women’s educational attainment in the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap report. With more female graduates than male and women out-performing men at almost every level of education, overlooking women means missing out on some of the best talent available.
  • Greater innovation and creativity: Gender-blended groups, in which everyone feels comfortable and all opinions are heard, are more likely to challenge established norms and get the best ideas presented.

According to Workplace Gender Equality Agency statistics, as of January 2014, only 17.6% of directors in the ASX200 were women.

In her speech last November at the Australian Human Rights Commission, Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick, said while women were excluded from power – economic, political and social – they would be marginalised all across Australia.

This new Victorian ministry is a refreshing change in the political scene, a step in the right direction and one that we certainly hope will continue. It will be interesting to watch how the Victorian parliament performs in the next 12 months.

Lisa Cutler

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