Sexuality, sex and gender diversity

Women remain the majority of our workforce and the DEOPE is committed to promoting gender equality in leadership and in the workplace more generally. Gender diversity beyond the male and female genders is an important consideration in workplace inclusion. 8

Gender ​diversity

Gender diversity in leadership is an ongoing priority of the DEOPE and public authorities. The Premier, Hon. Mark McGowan MLA has made a strong commitment to increasing the representation of women in leadership positions across the sector. The State Government is also urging government boards and committees to consider setting a target of 50 per cent female representation, to improve gender balance in leadership. The DEOPE and Public Sector Commissioner continue to offer their support to CEOs for Gender Equity, a peak Western Australian body.

In March 2017, the DEOPE and the Commissioner co-hosted the International Women’s Day CEO Luncheon with a keynote address by Curtin University Vice Chancellor, Deborah Terry AO. With this year’s theme Be Bold for Change, the focus was on creating a more gender inclusive workplace and pioneering action.

In 2017, the DEOPE focused on being more inclusive of gender diversity beyond the male/female gender binary. The indeterminate/intersex/unspecified gender option – also referred to as ‘X’ – was included in HRMOIR data collection and EEO surveys as a step taken to recognise greater gender diversity. 

This change aligns with the Australian Government Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender and with the Equal Opportunity Commission’s approach. The additional gender category allows individuals to identify as a gender other than male or female in workforce data collection.

Currently, public universities lead the way, with all recognising more diverse gender identities. Other public authorities have further work to do with only 31.1 per cent of public sector entities, 38.2 per cent of local governments and 41.2 per cent of other authorities providing the option for employees to identify as a gender other than male or female. Over the coming year, the DEOPE and the Commission will strengthen their efforts to promote authorities’ recording of ‘X’ in workforce data and promote more inclusive practices to encourage employee disclosure.

2 employees identified as indeterminate/intersex/unspecified in the public sector

Diversity snapshot - Sexuality, sex and gender diversity

Women currently represent a majority of the public sector workforce. Almost half of women are employed on a part-time basis compared with 13.6 per cent of men.

Gender representation of men and women across salary bands continue to directly contrast each other. Women are heavily represented at lower salary bands, while the representation of men is greater towards the higher salary bands.

Overall, public authorities stated in EEO and PSES data collection they aim to achieve gender balance. However, some noted that the size of their organisation and the predominantly male-orientated occupations presented difficulties to achieving this. 

This year a total of 10 employees across public authorities identified as indeterminate/intersex/unspecified.

Strengthening re​lationships

Lesbian, Gay, ​Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) recognition and inclusion

Only 11 per cent of public sector entities reported having policies or strategies in place to build LGBTI inclusion and awareness. During the reporting period, the DEOPE partnered with the Equal Opportunity Commissioner and Public Sector Commissioner on an inclusion resource for public authorities. In developing the resource, the DEOPE has engaged in meaningful consultation with a range of stakeholders including members of the Perth Pride in Diversity network, TransFolk of WA, The University of Western Australia and WA Police. This resource will be released to all public authorities during 2017/18.

The DEOPE also remains committed to building inclusion for transgender employees. In addition to the inclusion resource, the DEOPE is developing guidelines to assist public authorities to support transgender employees ‘who are’ or ‘who are wanting to’ transition to affirm their true gender in their workplaces. It is anticipated these resources will help promote more inclusive workplaces and ensure transgender employees and clients are treated with respect. 

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Representation of women in management ​

  Category of employment

Representation (%)

2012

2013

2014

2015

2016

Public sector

SES

29,2

30.1

31.7

32.9

34.2

Tier 1

26.2

29,3

27.3

22.9

22.2

Tier 2

35.4

34.9

36.2

38.2

39.4

Tier 3

42.0

42.7

41.7

42.8

44.5

Local government authority (LGA)

Tier 1 (Indoor workers)

8.6

12.3

12.3

8.8

10.3

Tier 2 (Indoor workers)

32.1

30.0

33.0

33.3

35.3

Tier 2 (Outdoor workers)

1.6

1.8

6.7

8.6

8.3

Tier 3 (Indoor workers)

37.2

38.0

42.8

45.5

41.9

Tier 3 (Outdoor workers)

11.0

6.7

7.8

12.4

12.1

Public universities

Tier 1 (Academic and general staff)

25.0

25.0

25.0

25.0

75.0

Tier 2 (Academic and general staff)

33.3

36.4

29.4

44.4

45.7

Tier 3 (Academic and general staff)

40.8

47.2

44.5

44.1

45.9

Other authorities

Tier 1

10.0

5.0

5.9

11.8

11.8

Tier 2

19.1

17.6

19.0

23.5

22.8

Tier 3

19.5

27.0

24.4

21.4

31.9

Distribution (equity index) of women​​ 

  Category of employment

Distribution

2013

2014

2015

2016

2017

Public sector

Public sector (All staff)

71

72

72

74

74

Local governments (LGA)

LGA (Indoor workers)

81

78

77

76

76

LGA (Outdoor workers)

88

84

86

99

88

Public universities

Public universities (Academic staff)

72

70

72

75

76

Public universities (General staff)

84

85

85

85

85

Other authorities

Other authorities (All staff)

65

71

66

74

76

The DEOPE has also supported and provided advice to transitioning employees and their agencies to use the process of an individual’s transition as an opportunity to reaffirm workplace inclusion and build inclusion and awareness. Future work for the DEOPE will include supporting public authorities to build LGBTI inclusion and awareness and assist with setting up Ally networks. Ally networks champion equity and inclusion, build a support and advocacy network for LGBTI employees, and raise awareness of issues they face. 

Advocacy and awareness raising are important tools in combating negative behaviour and discrimination. In May 2017, the DEOPE and Public Sector Commission Ally network hosted a Rainbow morning tea in celebration of IDAHOBIT (International Day Against Homophobia, Biphobia, Intersexism and Transphobia). The DEOPE welcomed Robyn Edwards from WA Police to share her personal story of workplace inclusion.

To close IDAHOBIT celebrations, the DEOPE and the Commission proudly sponsored the annual Isabelle Lake Memorial Lecture hosted by the University of Western Australian and the Equal Opportunity Commission. The lecture was held at the University Club and featured guest speaker AJ Kearns, who shared his story of transition with more than 160 guests from the public and private sectors.

In focus

The University of Western Australia leading the way

In 2017, the University of Western Australia became the first university to be awarded platinum status in the Australian Workplace Equity Index’s Australian LGBTI Inclusion and Diversity Awards. 9

Platinum status recognises organisations who ranked in the top 10 employers for a minimum of four years within the last five year period, or organisations who have been awarded Employer of the Year twice in the last five years. This year the university was also listed in the top 15 employers for LGBTI inclusion.

The University of Western Australia has been a long-standing and committed advocate for LGBTI inclusion for its staff, students and the wider community. 

Professor Kent Anderson, Deputy Vice Chancellor, Community and Engagement 

‘The university has demonstrated a significant commitment towards LGBTIQA+ inclusivity for more than a decade and will continue to do so.

People should be free to go to work, complete their studies and be part of the community in a supportive, positive, fair and inclusive environment.’

 

8 Australian Government 2013, Guidelines on the Recognition of Sex and Gender – July 2013.

9 University of Western Australia, 2017, UWA Achieves platinum status for LGBTI inclusion and diversity; Australian Workplace Equity Index (AWEI), 2017.

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Page last updated 14 September 2017