La Trobe Business School

Tag: gender equality

SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 5

While some forms of discrimination against women and girls are diminishing, gender inequality continues to hold women back and deprives them of basic rights and opportunities. Empowering women requires addressing structural issues such as unfair social norms and attitudes as well as developing progressive legal frameworks that promote equality between women and men (SDG Knowledge Platform, 2019).

The facts

Gender equality is a fundamental and inviolable human right. Yet women around the world continue to face significant economic, social, and legal barriers to equality. Women are more likely than men to be unemployed, to be overrepresented in low wage jobs, to hold fewer managerial, entrepreneurial and leadership positions, and on average, to only make 77 cents for every dollar earned by men. In 18 countries, men can legally prevent their wives from working. Women continue to bear disproportionate responsibility for unpaid care work and often experience maternity-related discrimination. Women entrepreneurs also face particular challenges to building and growing their businesses including lack of access to financing and business networks. In fact, less than 1% of spending by large businesses on suppliers is earned by women-owned businesses (UNGC, 2018).

The focus of SDG 5

The aim of Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5 is to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls (SDG Knowledge Platform, 2019). The targets related to SDG5 are broad and include:

  • Ending discrimination, violence, harmful practices against women and children.
  • Ensuring full and active participation in decision-making in all spheres of work.
  • Providing universal access to sexual and reproductive health and reproductive rights.
  • Undertaking reforms to improve women’s’ access to economic resources, ownership and control.
  • Improving access to enabling technology.
  • Strengthening policies and enforceable legislation for the promotion of gender equality and empowerment.

Australia is Not Winning at Achieving Gender Equality

A recent report published by the Sustainable Development Institute on Australia’s progress on the SDGs shows that progress is being made in  the areas of health and education, but not in terms of gender, climate change and housing affordability. In relation to SDG 5, the research found:

  • Only 11 women lead ASX200 companies.
  • Only 32% of Australian parliamentarians are female.
  • Women continue to face far greater economic insecurity than men. This is particularly evident at retirement, when women’s superannuation balances are just 42% that of men’s.
  • The gender pay gap has barely reduced in 20 years.

The burden of unpaid domestic duties still falls predominantly to women, with only 12% of men undertaking more than 15 hours of household chores each week, compared with 33% of women. In addition, the proportion of women and girls subjected to physical, sexual and psychological violence remains unacceptably high. Domestic and family violence remains the leading cause of death and disability for women aged 18 to 44.

LTU and SDG 5

“La Trobe is committed to achieving equality of opportunity in education and employment. We strive to create and support a safe, equal and inclusive community, where staff and students of all genders have equal access to power, resources and opportunities, and are treated with dignity, respect and fairness.”

LTU Diversity & Inclusion

La Trobe University has several initiatives that drive gender equality, including:

  • Workplace Gender Equality Agency – Employer of Choice: The University was awarded a second, consecutive prestigious citation from the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) as an Employer of Choice for Gender. The citation recognises LTU’s efforts to support gender equality, including the development of a Women in Research Strategy, scholarships for undergraduate women supporting gender diversity and social inclusion, introduction of flexible workplace practices, access to child care support, and our proactive stance on violence against women prevention.
  • Women’s Academic Promotions Support Program: The program is designed to demystify the promotion process and provide peer support through senior mentors and mentor groups, has resulted of an increase in the number of academic promotion applications received from women.
  • Square the ledger: In its 50th year, La Trobe partnered with the Victorian Women’s Trust to embark on a project to ‘square the ledger’by documenting and celebrating the ordinary and extraordinary lives of women who have walked the halls of the University — as students, educators, and administrators.
  • Male Champions of Change: LTU’s Vice Chancellor, Professor John Dewar is a gender pay equity ambassador with WGEA, a member of the Male Champions of Change and Chair of the Women’s Economic Security Committee.

SDG Video

The fifth video in the SDG series was produced by our CR3+ Partner Audencia Business School from Nantes, France. In the video, Dr Céline Louche explains the objective of achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls.  She covers the facts and figures, the targets for SDG 5, and the role that business can play. Business can focus on women in leadership, equal remuneration for women and men, diversity and equal opportunities, childcare services and benefits, workplace violence, and harassment. Dr Louche also interviews Christine Naschberger, Professor of Management and Human Resources at Audencia Business School, on gender equality in the workplace, how gender inequality manifests itself in that workplace and the importance of networking.  

Please enjoy the presentation.

If you would like access to the full video to use in your teaching, please contact Dr Swati Nagpal.

This blog is part of the SDG Series, a series that focuses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals set by the United Nations, in the lead up to the CR3+ Conference in October 2019. 
More blogs in the SDG Series:
- An introduction to the Sustainable Development Goals
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 1
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 2
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 3
- SDG Series: Sustainable Development Goal 4

4 tips we picked up from the LBS Women in Leadership Workshop


On 20 October 2016, La Trobe Business School hosted its first Intellectual Climate Fund event, a workshop titled: “Women’s Leadership in Business Schools: Opportunities and Challenges”. The workshop was developed by PhD students and was aimed at PhD students and Early Career Researchers. Attendees had the opportunity to discuss current issues with our successful academics. The panel included Professor of Accounting and Associate Head of La Trobe Business School Jane HamiltonLBS’s Professor of Practice Susan Inglis, LBS’s Associate Professor Suzanne O’Keefe,  Head of La Trobe Business School Paul Mather, Dr Jeanette Fyffe from RED and Professor and Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor (Academic Partnerships) Amalia Di Iorio who chaired the session

The panel spoke about leadership in business schools, and what the opportunities and challenges are for women in this context. According to panel members, there is a great pipeline of female PhD students at business schools, but there is leakage in this pipeline – women are statistically much less likely to end up in a leadership position within the school.

What can women in professional environments do to improve these outcomes?  Among a range of issues discussed by the panel, here we identify four key themes that emerged.

1. Redefine your work: beat the imposter syndrome

Imposter syndrome – an inability to internalize accomplishments and a persistent fear of being exposed as a “fraud” – is a common problem among women in professional environments. For the community, it’s important to ask where this phenomenon comes from, and how we can enhance women’s belief in themselves as leaders. “Sometimes it is as simple as redefining your activities,” panel member Associate Professor Suzanne O’Keefe said. “If you are organising a workshop on leadership, don’t look at the footwork– organising catering, inviting people et cetera – as women’s work, but rather, see it as what it is: showing initiative and bringing people together, it will then be easier to see yourself as a leader as well.”

2. Negotiate!

Research has indicated that women are a lot less likely to negotiate their salary than men, especially when it’s not clear if negotiation is expected or not. Research has shown that men negotiate more, and apply for positions with higher salaries more readily and at an earlier stage than women. Associate Pro Vice-Chancellor Professor Amalia Di Iorio, was encouraging: “As a woman, don’t be afraid to negotiate, speak up, and take opportunities when they arrive.”

3. Don’t be afraid to challenge feedback.

Panel members also reminded attendees that women shouldn’t hold back when it comes to asking for feedback, or, if you are not sure what certain feedback means, to step forward and ask your manager to clarify their feedback. As a panel member noted, “If you are worried about feedback, take initiative and ask why, respectfully. There is always a chance that it is a misunderstanding, and there is always value in raising this in a conversation.”

4. Have a support network around you.

Receiving difficult feedback is hard for anyone, no matter where you are in your career. It’s important to separate what you are from what you do, and not take things personally. Having a support network around you can help with this: “I find it incredibly useful to have a support network around me, consisting of a number of people from different backgrounds,” Professor of Practice Susan Inglis said. “Talking rough feedback over with peers is a valuable tool to get different perspectives, and see what your options are going forward.”

Record breakers: Australian women at the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.

Emma Sherry

By Emma Sherry, Associate Professor, La Trobe Business School and La Trobe University Centre for Sport and Social Impact

For the first time in the history of Australian participation in the summer Olympic Games, we have more female athletes representing our country than males. The team travelling to Rio hosts 214 women and 206 men, with cyclist Anna Meares being awarded the role as flag bearer for the team at the Opening Ceremony this weekend. Indeed, women have key leadership roles in this Games, with the Chef de Mission, Kitty Chiller, making headlines this week in her strong advocacy for the health and safety of her athletes and officials accompanying the team to Rio.

Figure 1 Fanny Curack (left) Wilhelmina Wylie (right)

Figure 1 Fanny Durack (left) Wilhelmina Wylie (right)

Australian women have been competing at the Olympic Games since 1912; our first female athletes were Fanny Durack and Wilhelmina Wylie at Stockholm in the sport of swimming. Australian female representation increased from 16% at Munich in 1972 to 46% at Beijing in 2008 and London 2012, where Australian female athletes won over half of all of the medals. In the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics the Australian team saw 50/50 representation for the first time across both sexes in any Olympic Games.

The London 2012 Summer Olympic Games were declared the “women’s games” – with female participation in all sports and every nation represented by at least one female athlete. Since the first woman participated in the modern Olympics in Paris in 1900, female participation at the Olympic Games has increased exponentially, in both the number of athletes competing, and the number of women’s events.

The inclusion of a women’s eight rowing crew to the team (after the disqualification of the Russian team due to WADA infringements) tipped the balance in favour of the Australian women participating on the world stage in Rio. The Australian Olympic Committee has officially announced the Women’s Rowing Eight crew for the 2016 Olympic Games following the decision on July 26th by FISA (International Rowing Federation) to award Australia a qualifying place.

Charlotte Sutherland, Meaghan Volker, Fiona Albert, Lucy Stephan, Molly Goodman, Jessica Morrison, Olympia Aldersey, Alexandra Hagan and Sarah Banting (coxswain) have all been selected and these nine women tipped the gender balance of the Australian team.

The International Olympic Committee has worked for many years to promote women in sport, both on and off the field of play. The goal of gender equality is enshrined in the Olympic Charter, the guiding document for all Olympic organisations, while defining strategies to dismantle gender barriers is the primary goal of the IOC’s Women and Sport Commission.

The Australian Sports Commission also has a strong position on the promotion of gender equity in the management and support of athletes, most recently evidenced by the requirement for National Sport Organisations to equally fund athlete travel. The ASC has also identified the promotion of women in leadership roles in sport as a key priority and requires all funded national sport organisations to have a minimum of 40% gender equity on boards of directors.

For the Rio summer Olympic Games, the representation and influence of women in Australian sport has never been more apparent.

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