WOB calls for focus on cultural and disability data


Women on Boards is calling for organisations to report on disability and cultural diversity within the workforce to improve participation and access to leadership and board roles.


The recommendation was made in a WOB submission to a Federal Government review of the Workplace Gender Equality Act (2021). WOB recommends the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) includes capacity to include disability and cultural diversity inclusion into its mandatory reporting for organisations with more than 100 employees.

Claire Braund, WOB Executive Director, said she appreciated that great care would have to be taken in relation to the protection of people's privacy, however employees should have the option to identify as ethnically/culturally diverse and/or with a disability status to their employers as part of the WGEA gendered data collection.

"This has the opportunity to create an intersectional dataset to better understand the gendered nature of culture and/or disability in terms of workforce participation, career advancement and access to leadership and board roles." 

"Organisations such as WOB, which has a strong commitment to opening up board roles to culturally and ethnically diverse women, would be able to use this data to advocate for and achieve greater political and social attention to this issue," she said.

In its submission, WOB commended the WGEA for its work done to date and the significant progress it has made.

"In our view WGEA operations are world class and trailblazing and it is now well established that the WGEA reporting, data sets, performance benchmarks are well accepted as a useful adjunct to business."

As part of the WGEA’s self-initiated review, WOB has also recommended:

  • The WGEA to have greater powers to enforce gender equality via a combination of naming and shaming and greater penalties for continued non compliance.
  • The definition of relevant employers to be extended to include Higher Education providers who are excluded from mandatory reporting.
  • Gender pay gap data to be made transparent to allow prospective and current employees to review how organisations are addressing (or not) the gender pay gap.
  • Support for the use of Single Touch Payroll and other innovations at ATO and Government level to reduce the regulatory burden on employers.
  • Minimum standards to apply to all reporting employers to enable longitudinal evidence to assess improvements.

WGEA has made suggested changes to the act in its submission. These include a push to make more employers report the progress of workplace gender equality, including reporting on CEO pay, a clearer breakdown or wages and expanding mandatory reporting to private sector organisations with 50 or more staff and public sector staff of all levels with 20 or more staff.

For the WOB submission click HERE.
Other published submissions to the Workplace Gender Equality Act review can be found HERE.

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