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Chapter 3: Innovation to embed gender equality in employment

Innovation is the cornerstone of progress towards gender equality. Real change will only happen if we think differently and work differently. Agencies need to reassess the way they do business if they are to attract, develop, and retain talented staff into the future—and if the APS is to establish itself as a competitive employer of choice.


  1. Gender equality will form an explicit part of agencies' innovation agendas. Each agency will develop a tailored program of personnel practices, appropriate to the particular agency's needs, to promote gender equality and ensure the aims of the strategy are met.
  2. The Innovation Champions Group will incorporate gender equality into its priorities and actions.
  3. Agencies will review their recruitment, retention, and performance management practices to drive gender equality. This includes building organisational capability to address unconscious bias, committing to appropriate gender balance on selection panels, all panels asking '50/50—if not, why not?' for gender balance in shortlisting processes, and ensuring learning and development opportunities are appropriate and equitable.
  4. The APSC will review and develop training on the differential impact of gender in mainstream policy development.
  5. The APSC will develop training for APS managers on mitigating unconscious bias.
  6. Agencies will work towards meeting the criteria of the Workplace Gender Equality Agency 'Employer of Choice for Gender Equality' citation.
  7. The APSC will establish an annual award program for best practice in gender equality in the APS.

The case for change

Agency leaders are responsible for meeting agency-specific gender equality targets at all levels of their workforce.

Caring responsibilities

Care responsibilities are not limited to care of dependent children. Employees can have caring responsibilities outside work that include providing ongoing care and support to family members or friends with disability, mental illness, a chronic condition, age-related fragility, terminal illness, or alcohol or other drug issues.

It is estimated that 12 per cent of the Australian population has carer responsibilities.

Employees are responsible for engaging with and contributing to gender equality initiatives.

Everyone, regardless of gender, is responsible for implementing the Strategy.

Dr Chris Pigram
Chief Executive Officer

Geoscience Australia

In 2013 Geoscience Australia conducted a cultural review which identified that female employees often had fewer opportunities to contribute, participate and develop than their male colleagues.

Geoscience Australia has invested considerable effort to improving gender equality since that time, primarily through our Cultural Reference Group, which champions change, consults with employees and monitors the implementation of our Inclusive Culture Program and Gender Strategy.

Geoscience Australia is committed to equally valuing and respecting the differing skills and experiences of all employees and being aware of the cultural challenges faced by some as a result of their gender. By harnessing the talent and perspective of our people regardless of gender and providing opportunities for all employees to contribute, develop and progress, we can maximise our innovation and performance.

Realising our inclusive culture vision is a long-term journey. It is a vision to which we are committed and which, with everyone's involvement, I am confident we can achieve.

Angel Gurria

September 2015

…we aspire to a society where men and women enjoy the same opportunities to have fulfilling jobs, innovate, participate in public life, raise children, and care for family and friends. We cannot push change and break gender stereotypes if gender equality is only pushed by women and for women, without engaging men.

Last reviewed: 
10 July 2019