Lobbying from a powerful coalition of business and women’s groups has seen the Government freeze any attempts to make immediate changes to gender reporting rules.
The group, which unofficially calls itself the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ and met in Canberra last week to push the matter, has welcomed the news the government will leave reporting requirements as outlined in the Workplace Gender Equality Act untouched, meaning organisations with more than 100 employees will still be required to report against gender equality indicators including the recruitment, retention and promotion of women.
The group’s lobbying efforts, combined with a backlash from other prominent figures including ANZ chief executive Mike Smith, has seen Senator Eric Abetz rule out any talk of potential change, at this point.
In a joint statement from Senator Abetz and Senator Michaelia Cash, the Government said existing reporting requirements in operation today for employers with more than 100 employees would remain unchanged, and that a new “minimum standard” would be introduced for businesses with more than 500 employees.
Women on Boards’ Claire Braund, who has acted as a spokesperson for much of the lobbying effort, has welcomed the news.
“This is recognition that increasing women’s workforce participation from a global low of 58.4% and narrowing the 17% pay gap between men and women goes to the very heart of increasing business productivity and growth,” she said.
“Central to this is collecting and public reporting of meaningful gendered workforce data at organisational and industry level.”
“Only then will we have the information to enable us to work collaboratively with business and government on the core issues of improving women’s workforce participation and closing the gender pay gap.”
The united coalition against the proposed changes included the Financial Services Institute of Australia, Local Government Mangers Diversity council of Australia, National Foundation of Australian Women, National Council of Women of Australia and BPW (Business and Professional Women).