Taking action on gender equality—minimum standards for agencies
The APS must aim to be more than simply compliant with diversity and inclusion, we need to change mindsets and behaviours and embed diversity and inclusion in the way the APS does business.
All agencies will consider the following minimum standards as a starting point or in refreshing their current action plans. These minimum standards align with the action areas outlined in the Strategy and build on actions in the outgoing strategy.
Many agencies are well underway in implementing these minimum standards. Agencies are encouraged to share good practice to assist with implementation both within their portfolios and across the APS.
Leadership and accountability
- Leaders are visible role models at any level and show their commitment to gender equality through their actions and words—senior leaders should consider how to support gender equality leadership in their organisation (consider specific KPIs in senior leader performance agreements).
- Agencies publish (on the internet) targeted plans for gender equality—informed by data and aligned to agency priorities.
- Dedicated resources and governance arrangements are in place to support this work—Gender Champions and employee-led gender networks are involved. Regular tracking of progress and impact is transparent to employees.
- Agencies include their commitment to gender equality and inclusion in induction and recruitment materials—including roles and expectations of all employees.
Respectful workplaces and empowered people
- Preventing gender-based harassment and discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual assault and bullying—leaders reinforce respectful standards of behaviour. Policies outline strategies for prevention, formal reporting and review processes and consequences.
- Supporting employees experiencing family and domestic violence (FDV)
- agency FDV policy is well-communicated and sets out supports available. Agencies will ensure there is availability of, and access to support (including access to flexible working arrangements, Employee Assistance Programs, paid and/or unpaid leave and other support(s) as appropriate to the employee’s individual situation.
- manager training is provided and includes an emphasis on an individual-led approach to support, noting that access to a secure workplace, phone and computer can be incredibly important.
Shifting gender stereotypes
- Ensuring gender diversity in selection processes, including internal processes and Expressions of Interest (EOI)—selection panels are gender-balanced and are equipped to call-out any potential bias during the process.
Flexible ways of working
- Access to flexible work—gender-neutral, flexible work policies are in place for all employees. Leaders and managers at all levels are able to role model flexible work where it is appropriate for the individual and the organisation.
- Valuing and supporting all types of caring responsibilities—managers are equipped to support all genders manage their family and caring responsibilities, including elder and disability care, such as through flexible ways of working. Managers understand leave policies and provisions as they relate to supporting those with caring responsibilities including keeping in touch days (as per the Fair Work Act 2009).
- Understanding the pay gap—agency-level gender pay gap is known and tracked (at both whole of agency and classification level).
- Tracking data on gender composition—gender disaggregated data across all classifications, geographical locations and key APS occupations is tracked.
Leveraging our external influence
- Agencies will drive change beyond the workplace
- agency heads and senior leaders speaking about gender equality at public engagements
- using all avenues to continue to promote gender equality, including through suppliers. Commonwealth policy prevents the Commonwealth from entering into contracts with suppliers who are non-compliant under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (refer to Workplace Gender Equality Procurement Principles).25
This Strategy encourages all minimum standards and action areas to be implemented, acknowledging that agencies will need to decide which actions are most relevant for their agency to focus on implementing.
To ensure this Strategy and its actions are truly inclusive, all agencies will consider gender identity and other identity dimensions including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander heritage, age, cultural and linguistic background, disability, and sexuality, in order to reduce the impact of compounding disadvantage. The model below is a useful approach to assist agencies with implementation. Underlying this is communicating gender with engagement and empathy. It’s complex and not binary.