In the three years since the release of “Balancing the Future: Australian Public Service Gender Equality Strategy 2016-19,” positive progress has been made to improve gender equality in the Australian Public Service (APS).
The APS is in a unique position as one of the largest employers in Australia, where it can have an impact on society through the achievement of gender equality goals in the workplace and as a result, benefit the broader community and benefit all Australians.
Using the definition of gender equality that people should receive equal access to rights and opportunities in the workplace regardless of their gender this report attempts to answer the question; “are we there yet?”. We outline the findings from independent research undertaken by PwC through more than 40 SES interviews and over 1,400 online survey responses from EL1 and EL2 cohorts in nine APS Departments to test perspectives, insights and progress of the APS Gender Equality Strategy and review specific progress within departments.
Creating sustained change within an organisation, especially one as large and diverse as the APS, requires progress through a spectrum of maturity from compliance focused to a truly inclusive culture. When the Gender Equality Strategy was launched it was the first time that a “whole of organisation” focus had been applied to the APS. Prior to the strategy, actions to support the participation and progression of women were consistent with the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012, Sex Discrimination Act 1984, the Maternity Leave Act 1973 and individual agency policies and processes.