Workplace survival politics 'don't address the issues'

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Workplace survival politics 'don't address the issues'

Current anti-discrimination laws underpinning the fair running of Australian workplaces should be changed, because they ruined careers and failed to address the real problems, according to Australia’s longest-serving equal opportunity commissioner.

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Current anti-discrimination laws underpinning the fair running of Australian workplaces should be changed, because they ruined careers and failed to address the real problems, according to Australia’s longest-serving equal opportunity commissioner.

Dr Josephine Tiddy, who was South Australian Equal Opportunity Commissioner for more than 15 years, told the Women, Management and Employment Relations conference in Sydney last week that she felt the current focus on individuals having to lodge discrimination claims did nothing to rid workplaces of systemic discrimination.

She questioned why, after 20 years’ protection through anti-discrimination laws and of women receiving equal education with men, women still only comprised 1% to 3% of board members.

Tiddy said she felt people were in ‘survival mode’ in the workplace, and that women were being forced to meld into existing values rather than change them, which was why we hadn’t had the debate.

‘We need to refocus from survival mode and put fair go issues back on the agenda,’ she said. ‘We’re not just a market – we’re a community too.’

A broad-ranging, independent inquiry composed of business and government working together could come up with some solutions, she said. Tiddy also said some countries were thinking of legislating for women to comprise above a certain board level.

 

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