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Building on your understanding of inequality and the unit content to date, please consider how an issue of inequality could be addressed in Australia?
In the modern times, gender equality is seen as one of the primary policy objectives for a government (Campbell, 2014), and the demand for gender equality is very apparent in case of Australia as well. In the 1970s and 1980s, Australian public sector operated as an ideal employer for women as government issued policy changes like paid maternity leaves and better employment opportunity for women (Williamson, 2016). These policies helped Australian public sector in achieving a healthy ratio of gender equality in the public sector. However, with time, the modern public sector in Australia attempts to adopt the policies of private sector and is leaving behind its gender equality policies in leadership roles.
In this paper, the case of Australian public sector is analysed to understand the scope of gender inequality in leadership roles and the need for change in the public sector policies.
2. Gender inequality in Australian public sector
In terms of hiring women for jobs, Australian public sector presents a commendable example, but the current scenario of the public sector leadership reveals some flaws in the gender equality policies. As of the most recent data published in June 2016, about 69% of all employees in the public sector are women and despite this, only 47% of the executive and leadership roles are held by female leaders (Office for the Public Sector, 2017). This ratio gets even worse in the South Australia region as the female leaders make for only 39.8% of the executive positions in public sector (Office for the Public Sector, 2017). This data clearly indicates that female employees are getting under-represented in the leadership roles even though there are more female candidates to get promoted to the executive roles. The current approach taken in the public sector for recruitment on the executive positions at best represents sheer ignorance of suitable female employees for the leadership role, and at worst, it shows a systemic favouritism towards male workers over the female workers. The government of Australia has also acknowledged the under-representation of women in leadership roles in public sector (Belot, 2017). These factors clearly indicate the gravity of the situation and an apparent need for change to eliminate inequality.
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