The Australian Human Rights Commission has released a toolkit to assist businesses and other organisations to implement strategies to increase the representation of women in non-traditional roles in male-dominated industries.
The toolkit provides practical suggestions and examples of different kinds of workplace strategies across four areas: attraction, recruitment, retention, and development of women in the workplace.
These examples have been drawn from current practice both within Australia and internationally and through desk based research, interviews and roundtables with employees, HR practitioners and leaders from organisations in the mining, construction and utilities industries.
Women currently represent 45.7% of the Australian workforce but only 11.8% of people employed in the construction industry are women. Despite efforts by the mining industry to attract and retain more women, only 15.1% of their workforce is female. Utilities do a little better with women representing 22.6% of their workforce.
In the foreword to the toolkit, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick said: “Many women are deterred from participation in some of Australia’s most thriving and essential businesses, particularly in male-dominated industries, because of the lack of family role models, stereotypes about the nature of ‘women’s work’, discouraging workplace cultures and structural problems within those organisations.”
“This is not about special treatment for women, but about the implementation of integrated gender diversity strategies,” said Commissioner Broderick.
The strategies for increasing representation of women in male-dominated industries are:
- Job advertisements that attract women to apply
- Cases and content that inspire women
- Engagement activities that broaden the pool of potential applicants
- Diverse and trained recruitment teams using merit based processes
- Broaden capabilities and pool of potential candidates
- Interaction with candidates to achieve a positive recruitment experience
- Workplace culture that is inclusive and embraces diversity
- Working environment that meets the needs of all employees
- Ongoing support for employees and families
- Senior leaders who are engaged in development
- Development that promotes the career advancement of women
- Merit based and inclusive talent process
In their announcement for the release of the toolkit, business.gov.au said not all strategies and mechanisms will suit all organisations or workplaces, and organisations will need to consider what is appropriate for their workplace, staff and business needs.
The toolkit was designed to be interactive, with online discussion forums set up for those who wish to share their thoughts, ideas and suggestions about any of the topics covered. Click on one of the hard hats at the end of each topic to go to the relevant discussion forum of the toolkit.
You can download the toolkit free from the Australian Human Rights Commission website.