Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality - Case Studies

Office for WomenInternational Forums2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
Thursday, 17 May 2018
Publication author(s):
Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet
Publication abstract:

The Office for Women sought case studies to showcase Australia’s collective efforts in implementing Sustainable Development Goal 5: Gender Equality. These case studies highlight the work being done by businesses and the community to contribute to Australia’s efforts to meet SDG 5.

If you have an example of an initiative that is progressing gender equality, please contact the Office for Women’s International Engagement team at so that your case study can be included here.

National Women's Alliances

The six National Women's Alliances represent almost 120 women’s organisations. They bring forward the views, voices and issues of Australian women and, in particular, women from marginalised and disadvantaged groups. The Alliances take the lead in ensuring that the voices of as many women as possible are heard, especially those who in the past have found it difficult to engage in advocacy and decision making.

The 2030 Agenda provides a new and vital platform for Australian women’s organisations to engage in international human rights processes. The International Mapping Project has supported this work identifying and mapping the connections between Alliance priorities, the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other human rights processes. This work informs the National Women’s Alliances’ contribution to advancing the SDGs, particularly Goal 5 Gender Equality.

The International Mapping Project

The National Women’s Alliances are contributing to Australia’s work towards the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and to Goal 5 in particular. The International Mapping Project has supported this work, identifying and mapping the connections between the priorities of National Women’s Alliances, the SDGs and other international human rights processes.

The 2030 Agenda and the SDGs have provided a new platform for Australian women’s organisations to engage in international human rights processes, to advocate for advancing gender equality in Australia, to use their own work to advance these goals.This mapping project was one component of the three year International Engagement Project supported by the Australian Government's Office for Women.

The National Women’s Alliances worked with The Gender Agency to map linkages between domestic priorities and the SDGs, as well as other international human rights frameworks. These include the Agreed Conclusions of the Commission on the Status of Women, the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), the Beijing Platform for Action. The result is a set of fact sheets that are resources for the Alliances to continue their international engagement, domestic advocacy and strategic planning processes.

This work is one component of the International Engagement Project supported by the Australian Government's Office for Women. This Project is an opportunity for women’s organisations to share experiences of engagement in the international human rights system; leverage outcomes of international processes in domestic advocacy; and boost civil society engagement in these processes.


Career Development

Career development can be anything from encouraging internal mentoring, to developing specific programs that build the skill sets required for young women to be leaders.

The following case studies tell us what some organisations are doing that address career development for women. This themed collection of case studies focuses on the following targets:

  • Target 5.1 - End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
  • Target 5.A - Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws
  • Target 5.C - Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels

Read the case studies below to see how organisations are leading on this measure.

Women NSW, Department of Family and Community Services NSW

Investing in Women Funding Program (Women NSW/FACS)

The Investing in Women Funding Program, launched in 2013, provides funding for organisations to develop and implement projects that support the economic empowerment and leadership of women. In 2017, the program funded ten projects including:

A leadership project and workshops to support women interested in a career in the building and construction industry;

  • A state-wide program to encourage and support women joining and remaining in the civil construction industry, with a particular focus on regional NSW;
  • A two part program to support and promote local young women taking up positions in male dominated trades, and strengthening and developing women’s leadership qualities; and
  • Entrepreneurship workshops for young women of culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds to access workspace and business facilities to incubate their new business, including post-workshop mentoring for up to 3 months.


Wesfarmers Curragh traineeships forging new paths for Indigenous women

Since its first intake in 2014, Curragh’s award-winning Oothungs in Mining (Sisters in Mining) training program has supported nine Indigenous women through two-year traineeships, giving these local women the opportunity for a great start in a resources sector career.

The program is focused on maximising employment opportunities for disadvantaged Indigenous women in Central Queensland, and increasing the number of women in the traditionally male-dominated mining industry.

Successful graduates are awarded a Certificate III in Surface Extraction Operations and Certificate III in Resource Planning, which are nationally recognised qualifications. Importantly, while formal skills training and mentoring are the mainstays of the program, other career skills such as goal-setting, negotiation, nutrition and personal financial management are also covered. The broader issues of learning to deal with shift-work and a challenging business environment are all part of the experience the women gain from the program.

Today, eight of the Oothungs in Mining graduates continue to work at Curragh in operator roles in the mining and coal handling preparation plant areas. Of these, three have given back to the next generation of trainees by participating as ‘big sisters’ (mentors) through the program.

Women’s Education Advisory Group (WEAG)

TAFE SA Certificates in Women’s Education: Certificate II, III and IV in Women’s Education

This scaffolded suite of Certificate courses with flexible entry and exit points is designed specifically for women from diverse backgrounds to gain knowledge, confidence, skills and literacies for employment and/or further study along with life skills, thus enhancing their social and economic wellbeing.

Participation in the program increases women’s knowledge of the worlds of work (paid, voluntary and unpaid), of gender issues, of employment and employability skills, skills for and an understanding of the benefits of further study. Students also gain access to a broader understanding of community activities and resources.

Ogilvy Public Relations

Agile Working Program

Our culture inspires people to be their best and, in return, they get to work on boutique, local and specialised services as well as global services to clients of all shapes and sizes. To reflect the changing nature of our work we introduced our Agile Working Program in 2015, with a goal to help our team achieve more balance in our working lives. By making small changes (and big changes) our people can work in more ways that suit them and support our transformation to a more agile workplace.

CareerTrackers  – partnership

A national non-profit organisation that creates internship opportunities for Indigenous university students.

Inspiring Rare Birds

Inspiring Mentoring Scholarships Program:

Inspiring Rare Birds launched the Inspiring Mentoring Scholarship Program in June 2017, with funding from the Office for Women under the Australian Government’s Women’s Leadership and Development Strategy.

This program provides high calibre business mentors to 100 marginal demographic women entrepreneurs who are Indigenous or of Torres Strait Islander descent; regional, rural or remotely located; migrants or refugees; of low socioeconomic background; or disabled. The 100 scholarship recipients have begun their 12 month mentorships, spending four hours per month with their mentor to work on their business and professional development.

47% of the scholarship recipients stated they previously suffered from a lack of resources, and through this program now have access to education, training and tools to help them grow their business.

Rare Birds Speak

In September 2017 Rare Birds launched the world’s first women-only, all-inclusive, full service speaker agency and media hub. Rare Birds Speak was developed to challenge the status quo and combat gender imbalance in the media and professional public forums. Australia’s most remarkable, accomplished and inspiring female speakers, game changers, media commentators, story-tellers and subject matter experts are part of this movement to create more diversity on stages and pages around the world.

Rare Birds Global Ambassador Program

Inspiring Rare Birds has activated 14 communities of practice throughout metro, regional and rural Australia, which are lead by Rare Birds ambassadors who are entrepreneurs, business leaders and highly connected individuals. These communities provide access to education, mentoring and events to women entrepreneurs and intrapreneurs, and develop a grassroots community for women and girls to connect with each other and access the tools and resources they need to grow their businesses.

Equality in Pay

Equal pay for equal work is a vital component of gender equality.

The following case studies tell us what some organisations are doing that address the gender pay gap. This themed collection of case studies focuses on the following targets:

  • Target 5.1 - End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
  • Target 5.6 - Undertake reforms to give women equal rights to economic resources, as well as access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources, in accordance with national laws
  • Target 5.C - Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels

Read the below case studies to see how organisations are leading on this measure.

South Australian Government, Department of the Premier and Cabinet

Gender Pay Gap Audit of the South Australian Public Sector

The SA Government has undertaken an analysis to:

  • Determine if there is a gender pay gap in the state public sector
  • Highlight where there is a gap, what levels, roles or agencies the gap is more prevalent
  • Develop a strategy and actions to address any gaps.

This is the first comprehensive attempt to quantify a gender pay gap for the SA Public Sector. The analysis was undertaken by comparing base salary data of public sector employees held by the Commissioner for Public Sector Employment.

South Australian Government, Department of Treasury and Finance

Gender equality in leadership and the gender pay gap - fixed!

The Department implemented an Action Plan to improve gender diversity and pay at the management to executive level.

The plan includes specific actions such as:

  • All job adverts must use gender neutral terms and promote flexible working arrangements;
  • Each recruitment panel must include at least one woman at an equivalent or higher level than the position filled;
  • 50% of interviewees for each role must be women;
  • In interview panelists must make it clear that DTF supports flexible working arrangements.
  • Half-yearly emails to all staff inviting them to engage in flexible working arrangements and requests are then actioned by the Chief Operation Officer to prevent roadblocks to approval.
  • All staff are required to attend unconscious bias training.
  • All management level women must attend at least one leadership/management training event per financial year.
Leadership Roles

Women need to be in the positions to make decisions where it counts, if we are to achieve gender equality.

The following case studies tell us what some organisations are doing that encourage and support leadership development for women. This themed collection of case studies focuses on the following targets:

  • Target 5.1 - End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
  • Target 5.5 - Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
  • Target 5.C - Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels

Read the case studies below to see how organisations are leading on this measure.

Gender Diversity in the Tasmanian State Service Senior Executive Service

The purpose of this program is to increase the representation of women in senior executive positions in the Tasmania State Service.

To do this the Tasmanian Government has adopted a target of at least 40 per cent women by 2020.

The Commitment focuses on:

  • identifying the barriers to women working in senior levels in the Tasmanian State Service;
  • overcoming unconscious bias; and
  • supporting flexible work arrangements.

As part of this commitment, the Head of the State Service, Secretaries of Departments and Deputy Secretaries participated in unconscious bias training from December 2016 to March 2017. This training aimed to raise awareness of automatic associations made about people based on life experience and external influences such as the media.

Mirvac Achievements

Mirvac's objective is to continue initiatives to reduce bias and provide equal opportunity for females to contribute and progress their careers at Mirvac, also to drive participation in industry advocacy to improve gender representation within the broader property sector.

Mirvac uses diversity targets for female representation at various levels in the business that they track and report against on a monthly basis.

Mirvac also include female talent in succession planning for leadership roles, and require 50% of candidates on the targeted leadership recruitment shortlists to be female.

Mirvac have 76% of employees on flexible working arrangements and undertake an annual gender pay gap analysis.

Mirvac has a Domestic and Family Violence Leave policy which provides employees experiencing violence with financial support and access to leave.

Male Champions of Change Initiative

The MCC strategy started in Australia in 2010, where despite a robust legal framework, progress on gender equality is slow. The gender pay equity gap is ~15%. Women occupy ~25.4% of board positions. Women perform the majority of unpaid caring work, and are more likely to experience economic disadvantage. Violence against women remains a significant human rights issue.

MCC organisations’ guiding principles are to step up beside women, prioritise achieving progress on women’s representation, stand behind their numbers, share lessons learned, and to shift the system, not “fix women”. Their active participation is centred around personal leadership, creating accountability, disrupting the status quo, dismantling barriers for carers, and gender equality in society.

Over the past 7 years, the MCC strategy has been effective in three ways.

First, it has successfully engaged powerful men to impact gender inequality. The MCC coalition has grown from a single group of 8 Australian private sector leaders, to ~160 CEOs, government department heads, and Board Directors across 10 national and sector-based groups. Together these leaders employ ~700,00 people (~6% of Australia’s workforce.) Each MCC group writes its own charter describing its specific aspirations, focused on achieving:-

  • Gender balance in leadership, recruitment, graduates and promotions
  • Pay equity between men and women
  • Flexible and inclusive employment experiences
  • Leadership, advocacy and impact on gender equality social issues

Second, MCCs’ advocacy agenda has shaped Australia’s national conversation about gender equality. Media coverage has shifted, on both traditional and social media platforms. Action has become a core expectation of Australia’s senior leaders. The MCCs express and engage broadly on their disruptive positions on a range of gender-equality related matters.

Finally, and importantly, the MCC strategy has resulted in tangible disruptive action. Dozens of initiatives have been implemented across MCC organizations – including the Panel Pledge, influential positions on flexible work, everyday sexism, domestic and family violence, gender equality targets and reporting, and gender pay equity.

Women’s Leadership Institute Australia

Pathways to Politics Program for Women

The objective of this program is to increase elected female representation in Australia’s federal and state parliaments as well as in local government.

This is a non-partisan initiative providing women from across the political spectrum with the training and support they need to ascend in the electoral process at the local, state and national levels.

It is based on the Harvard Kennedy School’s From Harvard Square to the Oval Office program and it delivers specialised content with speakers from across the political spectrum, including politicians, pollsters, speechwriters, campaign strategists, as well as leading figures in public life.

Australian Capital Territory Government, Treasury and Economic Development Directorate

Women in Leadership

The objective is to support women in taking on leadership roles and increase the number of women in leadership positions.

The ACT Government has a target of 50% female representation on its boards and committees. To support this target, all proposed ACT Government board appointments are reviewed by the ACT Office for Women with regard to gender balance. In addition, the ACT Government has set a new target for triennially funded sporting organisations to have 40% female representation on their boards by 2020.

The ACT Government delivers the Audrey Fagan Leadership Program each year. Through a series of workshops offered free of charge to participants from the local community, the program aims to support women in building their confidence in their existing board and leadership roles, or take the first steps towards becoming a board member.

In addition to this program, the ACT Government is developing an ACT Diversity Register for people interested in being on boards and committees, including women.

In the ACT we celebrate being the first state or territory with more women than men in our Parliament. In addition, the ACT Public Service is performing well with women holding around 45% of senior executive positions and five of the seven ACT Government Director-Generals being women.

Commonwealth Bank Australia

Driving Gender Diversity in Leadership

The objective of this project is to reflect the diversity in our community with diverse thinking and perspectives measured by our gender target – 40 per cent women in Executive Manager and above positions by 2020 and 45 per cent women in Manager and above positions by 2020.

Since 2010, the Commonwealth Bank has taken a strategic approach to ensuring appropriate gender and cultural representations across leadership roles. This has resulted in the Board and Executive Committee endorsing targets for gender and cultural diversity in leadership. We achieved our prestigious target set in 2010, and so have now set a new target for gender diversity in leadership.

This process includes:

  • Applying a diversity lens to all people processes;
  • Using candidate recruitment demographic surveys to track conversion from application to acceptance;
  • Establishing key mechanisms to achieve gender pay equity;
  • Building diverse internal succession pipelines with targeted development.

Australian Capital Territory Government, Housing Department

Economic engagement and participation of specific cohorts within the ACT community

To encourage economic engagement and participation of specific cohorts within the ACT community though either direct service delivery or sub-contractors. The identified groups include Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander persons, tenants or occupants of public housing properties, persons with a disability, young people and apprentices.


AGL’s actions to support SDG #5 – Gender Equality

Gender Equality is a central part of AGL's Diversity and Inclusion Policy. AGL set a target to increase the number of women in the Senior Leadership Pipeline to 40% by FY19.

AGL also have a Family and Domestic Violence Support Policy providing affected AGL employees with up to 10 days paid Domestic Violence Leave along with flexible work arrangements and access to counselling services through AGL’s Employee Assistance Program.

Ogilvy Public Relations

Ogilvy Public Relations' Partnership with the Diversity Council of Australia

Ogilvy Public Relations have partnered with the Diversity Council of Australia. The Diversity Council of Australia recently delivered a program on unconscious bias.

This project increased the organisation’s understanding and awareness of the concept of Unconscious Bias in relation to:

  • What it is
  • How it is measured
  • How it can be used to generate more inclusive and productive workplaces, and
  • The extent to which changes to UB can change decision making

South Australian Government, Department of the Premier and Cabinet

The SA Office for Women regularly hosts State Aboriginal Women's Gatherings. The Gatherings provide an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to come together in a culturally supportive environment and talk about issues that affect their lives.

The Gatherings enable Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to share experiences and issues from their communities; meet and network with other Aboriginal women and service providers from across SA; and be informed about key issues affecting them and their communities.

The one-day Gatherings are held in various locations within SA with participants attending from the local area. Each Gathering focuses on topics relevant to the locality in which each Gathering is held. Participants have the opportunity to join in facilitated workshop sessions, discussions and networking. The Gatherings also engage guest speakers from service delivery organisations to provide information to participants and enable connections to be made between services and the local community. The attendance of the SA Office for Women at Gatherings further strengthens links between the Office and services in rural and regional areas of SA.

Having Gatherings in regional locations enables Aboriginal women who live in those locations to attend and ensures a local community focus. The Office for Women acknowledges the importance of ongoing engagement with Aboriginal women in SA and believes that Gatherings in regional and remote areas will support more Aboriginal women to engage with the Office and other services. Travelling to these areas of SA enables the Office for Women to hear from those living in communities about their issues and experiences; to exchange information; and develop further communication links between metropolitan and regional based women within SA.

Women's Safety and Health

Women’s Safety is a priority of the Australian Government as demonstrated by The National Plan to Reduce Violence against Women and their Children 2010 – 2022.

The following case studies tell us what some organisations are doing to address women’s safety and health. This themed collection of case studies focuses on the following targets:

  • Target 5.1 - End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
  • Target 5.2 - Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation
  • Target 5.3 - Eliminate all harmful practices, such as child, early and forced marriage and female genital mutilation
  • Target 5.6 - Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights as agreed in accordance with the Programme of Action of the International Conference on Population and Development and the Beijing Platform for Action and the outcome documents of their review conferences
  • Target 5.C - Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels

Family Safety Victoria

LGBTI Family Violence integrated specialist services model

The Victorian Government is supporting specialised family violence services for Victoria’s LGBTI communities.

On 9 August 2017, Minister for Equality the Hon Martin Foley MP announced $3 million over four years to develop comprehensive specialist services for LGBTI Victorians who experience or are at risk of experiencing family violence. This adds to the $1 million allocated for the initiative in 2016/17.

The funding will support family violence referral, counselling and support, peer support, early intervention and perpetrator intervention programs. This work will involve secondary consultation to mainstream family violence organisations across Victoria. The services will bring together expertise from the LGBTI and family violence sectors to provide increased support for Victoria’s LGBTI communities.

Drummond Street Services is leading the new partnership, alongside Switchboard Victoria, Transgender Victoria and the Victorian AIDS Council .

The Victorian Government recognises that specialist services are needed to meet the complex needs of LGBTI communities, who face significant barriers to seeking family violence support.

Kunghah: Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander Brotherboys and Sistergirls trans and gender diverse communities gathering

In November 2016, Victoria hosted Kunghah: an Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander (ATSI) trans and gender diverse celebratory gathering of Sistergirls and Brotherboys over aweekend in Melbourne, Australia’s first national gathering of Sistergirls and Brotherboys. Kunghah means "gathering" in the Ngarigo language of south-eastern Australia. Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander people may use the terms Brotherboy or Sistergirl to refer to trans and gender diverse people. Brotherboy typically refers to masculine-spirited people who are born female, and Sistergirl typically refers to feminine-spirited people who are born male.

The retreat was attended by over 70 people, with all States and Territories represented except the Australian Capital Territory.

Unlike other programs for Aboriginal LGBTI communities that focus on sexual health, Kunghah focused on celebration and cultural strength. The event provided participants with a rare opportunity to network with their communities, to share knowledge, issues and aspirations, to strategise and to make recommendations for change. The program was developed by a nation-wide steering committee of ATSI trans, gender diverse and LGBTI Elders and emerging community leaders.

The program included:

  • an opening night dinner at Charcoal Lane (a Victorian Aboriginal social enterprise) with community Elders, with entertainment from attendees a healing circle, beauty treatments and a weaving circle separate yarning circles for Sistergirls, Brotherboys and a gender diverse and queer circle followed by an all-attendee yarning circle a session on dating a screening of the international documentary ‘Kumu Hina’ a talent show a session on trans and gender diverse health a conversation with Australia’s first Commissioner for Gender and Sexuality, Ro Allen, where participants discussed issues, aspirations and made recommendations for change.

Tasmanian Government, Department of Premier and Cabinet

Safe Homes, Safe Families: Tasmania’s Family Violence Action Plan 2015-2020

Safe Homes, Safe Families allocates $26 million to new and direct actions across three priority areas: changing attitudes and behaviours that lead to family violence; supporting families affected by violence; and strengthening our legal responses.

Safe Homes, Safe Families builds upon, and complements, work being undertaken as part of a national effort, including implementation of the National Plan to Reduce Violence Against Women and their Children 2012-2022. It is also takes into account other key Tasmanian Government activities such as Safe at Home; development of the Tasmanian Women’s Strategy 2018-2020; and Strong Families, Safe Kids.

23 actions deliver programs and services across primary prevention, secondary and tertiary interventions and implementation demonstrates a flexible and responsive approach that ensures actions are based on current evidence and best practice.

Key programs include:

  • Safe Families Coordination Unit, a multi-agency unit that reviews all reported family violence incidents, undertakes detailed analysis of high-risk incidents, and develops recommendations for agency responses.
  • Safe Choices, a statewide family violence service providing non-crisis support. Includes a Local Support Coordinator with a focus on supporting women with a disability experiencing family violence.
  • Involvement of the Family Violence Consultative Group(key non-Government stakeholders) to inform the Government’s response. The Consultative Group includes representatives of at-risk and diverse populations and continues to be engaged through the life of the Action Plan.
  • Development and delivery of a Respectful Relationships Education Program (birth to Year 12) in all Tasmanian Government schools.
  • Roll-out of White Ribbon Workplace Accreditation across all Tasmanian Government agencies to promote respectful relationships, gender equality and a culture of zero tolerance of violence against women.
  • The Rapid Rehousing initiative, which provides statewide supported housing for families affected by family violence, including in regional areas.
  • The Aboriginal Family Safety Initiative designed to improve the quality and accessibility of culturally appropriate services to support families experiencing family violence.

South Australian Government, Department of the Premier and Cabinet 

Family Safety Framework (FSF)

The FSF seeks to ensure that services to families most at risk of violence are provided in a more structured and systematic way, through agencies sharing information about high risk families and taking responsibility for supporting these families to navigate the system of services to help them.

Through integrated service responses that are co-ordinated, consistent and appropriate the FSF: enhances victim safety for women and children at high risk of serious harm or death due to domestic violence; increases perpetrator accountability; reduces repeat victimisation and; improves agency accountability.

Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service (WDVCAS)

The Women’s Domestic Violence Court Assistance Service provides a greater level of support within the legal system for victims of domestic violence by assisting women with the Intervention Order (domestic violence protection order) process, tenancy orders, and related matters.

Legal officers provide free and confidential support and advocate on behalf of women applying for an intervention order (the SA form of a domestic violence protection order) or reporting a breach of an intervention order. The WDVCAS also assists women to access tenancy orders to ensure they are not left with debts incurred by a perpetrator when a tenancy agreement is broken or varied.

International Women’s Development Agency

The Last Taboo – Research on menstrual hygiene management in the Pacific: Solomon Islands, Fiji, and Papua New Guinea

The Last Taboo Research project is a collaboration between Burnet Institute, WaterAid Australia and the International Women’s Development Agency (IWDA), commissioned and funded by the Australian Government, Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. This research explored the challenges experienced by women and girls in managing their menstruation, and how these challenges may act as barriers to equal participation in school, work and community life. Undertaken in Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Papua New Guinea (PNG), the research directly contributes to a greater understanding of how we can achieve Sustainable Development Goal 6 – clean water and sanitation (specifically target 6.2) and Goal 4 – quality education (target 4a) in the Pacific as well as barriers to achieving Goal 8 on decent work, Goal 3 on health and Goal 5 on gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Findings show that adolescent girls and women, particularly in Solomon Islands and PNG, face a number of challenges including comprehensive knowledge about menstruation, availability of and access to reputable, commercial sanitary products or access to effective home-made/locally made solutions and affordability challenges associated with obtaining sanitary products (particularly in rural areas). The quality of WASH facilities in both schools and workplaces in Solomon Islands and PNG and informal workplaces in Fiji also has an impact, contributing to absenteeism from school and work. The stigma attached to menstruation, as a result of common beliefs and attitudes about menstruation being ‘dirty’, was also found to contribute to difficulties managing menstruation, behavioural restrictions, and negative impacts on well-being. For example, girls in all three countries reported teasing/harassment by boys, contributing to feelings of humiliation and embarrassment, and potentially absenteeism from school.

The research also found that these challenges are magnified for women with disabilities in all countries of the study. For example, education and information on menstruation frequently excludes women and girls with disabilities and WASH facilities are often not accessible for those with a physical disability.

Workplace Practices

Workplace practices include ensuring that employees have access to flexible work arrangements, and other workplace programs that ensure there are equal incentives for men and women to share paid and unpaid work.

The following case studies tell us what some organisations are doing that focus on workplace practices that promote gender equality. This themed collection of case studies focuses on the following targets:

  • Target 5.1 - End all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere
  • Target 5.4 - Recognize and value unpaid care and domestic work through the provision of public services, infrastructure and social protection policies and the promotion of shared responsibility within the household and the family as nationally appropriate
  • Target 5.5 - Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life
  • Target 5.C - Adopt and strengthen sound policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and the empowerment of all women and girls at all levels

Read the case studies below to see how organisations are leading on this measure.

Clayton Utz

Hiring law students who are culturally diverse or socio-economically disadvantaged

Clayton Utz partners with Rare Recruitment  and employs their contextual recruitment system which widens the talent pool and enhances the recruitment process by allowing us to understand the context for a candidate’s experience – such as schooling, economics, geography and personal life events – and their achievements against this backdrop.

This system draws from a range of bespoke databases covering all of Australia’s Territories and States. It combines publicly available information such as postcodes, with candidates’ personal responses obtained through the application process, such as their eligibility for Centrelink benefits, for example. This delivers two assessment measures: advantage and performance.

Employment support for Syrian refugees

The NSW Government’s Refugee Employment Support Program helps asylum seekers and refugees settle in Australia through support with language, education and training, recognition of overseas skills or qualifications, mentoring work, work experience and business skills development. Clayton Utz provides refugees with casual employment placements for up to three months at a time.

Clayton Utz have also engaged with CareerSeekers , a non-profit social enterprise supporting asylum seekers and refugees to establish and recommence their careers in Australia.

Flexible work support

Clayton Utz have a Flexible Work Policy that accommodates a number of working arrangements, including part-time, variable start and finish times, remote working, job-share and working from home.

City of Melbourne

Goal 5 - Gender

The City of Melbourne is building gender equity into the foundations of our organisation.

In 2015 the City of Melbourne's newly appointed CEO Ben Rimmer joined the Male Champions of Change group. One of the initiatives was to hold a series of Listen and Learn sessions with employees These sessions highlighted that the largest barriers to increasing female participation and promotion was flexible work and parental leave.

Since December 2015 the City of Melbourne has had an ‘All roles flex’ policy, which is available to all employees, for any reason. Since the launch of ‘All Roles Flex’, there has been a 60% increase in formal flexibility arrangements.

  • Women from 148 in 2015 to 223 in 2017 (51% increase)
  • Men from 42 in 2015 to 82 in 2017 (95% increase)
  • Improved gender balance in Senior Leadership team - from 17% to 42%

There has also been a major shift in who is working flexibly, with more males than ever before taking up flexible options. Options include flexible start and finish times, working from home, reduced hours, job share, compressed working week, purchased leave (between one and four weeks) and leave without pay. The City of Melbourne also aims to achieve pay parity (like for like roles) and conducts regular pay audits.

City of Melbourne's recent EA negotiations were an opportunity to build gender equity into entitlements for all employees; this is ground breaking. Highlights include de-gendered parental leave to acknowledge families of all types and allow equal access to paid leave, and increased parental leave for primary and secondary carers, with employees now able to transition from secondary carer to primary carer, recognising the need to balance caring responsibilities between men and women. Recognising that women accumulate significantly less superannuation in their lifetime than men, CoM built in a $500 per annum superannuation contribution for all women. Additionally, superannuation payments are maintained at 9.5% paid to primary carers on any period of paid and unpaid parental leave for the first 12 months. CoM has also removed the 12-month exclusion periods before accessing these benefits.

CoM has a number of policies to drive gender equity through the organisation including:- Gender Equity Policy, Preventing Violence Against Women Policy, Preventing Violence against Women Bystander Policy & Procedures, Response to Family Violence Policy and Procedure, Sexual Harassment Policy & Procedure, Equal Opportunity (Harassment & Discrimination Prevention) Policy & Procedure & the Bystander Toolkit.

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