The Realising the benefits for all—APS Gender Equality Strategy 2021–26 (the Strategy) presents a pathway to realise gender equality in our Australian Public Service (APS).
The Strategy builds on the outgoing strategy, Balancing the Future: APS Gender Equality Strategy 2016–19, and recognises the significant progress made by agencies to drive gender equality in our leadership and workforce, through flexibility and innovation.
The APS is a leader in gender outcomes in many respects. For example, we have achieved gender parity in the Senior Executive Service and the gender pay gap has reduced annually, now at a level of 6.6% compared with 13.4% in the broader economy (for the same period). But there is more to do. It is clear from our consultations that work is needed to help more employees see gender equality as a strategic advantage—that is, equality of opportunity leads to better outcomes for employees, agencies and the communities we serve. There is also more work to do to develop a shared vision for what success looks like. A major aim of this Strategy is to provide a shared vision for gender equality toward which everyone in the APS can contribute.
Achieving this requires commitment from agencies, senior leaders and employees. Our 3 Strategy objectives aim to embed inclusive and respectful workplace practices to enable all genders equality of opportunity and full participation. In doing so we will ensure that the APS can deliver at its best.
Objective 1: To see leaders at all levels hold themselves and others to account for demonstrating gender equitable and inclusive behaviour.
Objective 2: To shift gender norms, and normalise respectful workplaces and access to flexibility for all.
Objective 3: To embed gender equality and inclusion in all that we do.
To achieve these objectives, the Strategy outlines 6 action areas for everyone to take forward:
- Leadership and accountability that progresses gender equality through individual and collective action.
- Respectful workplaces and empowered people that prioritise our people’s safety and wellbeing.
- Shifting gender stereotypes to support the career and life choices of our people.
- Flexible ways of working to give our people more choice and enhance their contributions at work.
- Gender data that ensures our efforts are informed by the evidence base and progress is visible.
- Leveraging our external influence to champion gender equality in our everyday work.
APS Gender Equality Strategy 2021–26
Our workplaces are respectful, safe and inclusive. They enable all genders to fully participate and ﬂourish.
To see leaders at all levels hold themselves and others to account for demonstrating gender equitable and inclusive behaviour.
To shift gender norms, and normalise respectful workplaces and access to ﬂexibility for all.
To embed gender equality and inclusion in all that we do.
As outlined in Delivering for Tomorrow: APS Workforce Strategy 2025, we need the APS to be inclusive and representative of the Australian community to position us for the future. Drawing on whole of APS data, consultations and best practice examples, the Strategy sets out a roadmap that builds on the significant progress the APS has made on gender equality.
The flexibility built into the Strategy enables agencies to consider their current level of gender equality maturity to inform how they approach the implementation of actions. This includes consideration of their specific workforce demographics and the identity dimensions of employees in addition to gender, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, age, cultural and linguistic background, disability, or sexuality. This is important as gender-based discrimination or disadvantage may be compounded by these factors. Paying close attention to these cross-cutting issues will help agencies bring the Strategy to life in their unique context.
Equality versus Equity
In the APS context, equality ensures that everyone has an equal opportunity to make the most of their experiences, careers and talent. Equity is about recognising differences and providing tools and support so that everyone has an opportunity to succeed.
Equality is our end goal, and equity can help us get there.