Adopting intersectional approaches to data collection, enhancing gender-responsive procurement and building workplaces that are safe from gender-based violence must be at the heart of the National Strategy to Achieve Gender Equality, according to CEO of Science in Australia Gender Equity (SAGE), Dr Janin Bredehoeft.

Dr Bredehoeft underscored the importance of collecting data reflecting people with multiple marginalised identities who may experience layers of compounding barriers and disadvantages in the workplace.

“While there is growing awareness of intersectionality, many organisations struggle to apply this concept in their gender, equity, diversity, and inclusion practices,” she said.

“In consultation with diversity and inclusion experts, the strategy should aim to develop, and share best practice models for intersectional data collection and analysis, ensuring compounding and often unique disadvantages are considered.”

“At a minimum, we should be gathering data on cultural background, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander background, disability status and sexual orientation, and all gender data should include categories for non-binary and gender-diverse people.”

SAGE has made a submission to the government, with hopes their consultation will elevate actions needed to achieve gender equality.

According to Dr Bredehoeft, government must also recognise the need for enhanced organisational accountability through gender-responsive procurement, which is a critical part of the solution for gender equality, diversity and inclusion.

“The strategy should outline actionable steps which organisations can take to diversify their supplier base, and increase the share of businesses led by women, trans and gender-diverse people in their procurement.”

“We must also see regular auditing, and greater accountability from organisations setting targets and reporting on their processes,” Dr Bredehoeft added.

SAGE has also called on the government to lead with best-practice responses to prevent and respond to gendered violence in the workplace, and provide direction and incentives to non-government workplaces to do the same.

“The strategy should address the impact of violence on women’s economic security, and highlight the role employers can play in preventing and responding to harassment and violence, both inside and outside the workplace to foster financial security following violence.”

“Recent legislative changes to make paid family and domestic violence leave available to all workers will improve economic security during periods of transition, but we can do more.”

“Flexible work options, including adjustments to location and job redesign, as well as confidentiality and privacy for victims and survivors, must be prioritised. Workplaces must also promote trauma-informed understandings among staff through regular training,” Dr Janin Bredehoeft said.

SAGE works to address gender equity, diversity and inclusion in Australian higher education and research institutions.

Click the button below to download the full submission.