Minimising unconscious bias in the workplace: strategies for tackling gender stereotypes and improving workplace productivity

By Laura Wood

Laura represented Monash University at the 2016 OECD Forum in Paris.  

Abstract

Gender stereotypes permeate all aspects of social life, including that relating to the paid workforce.  The persistence of gender stereotypes are a powerful factor in the perpetuation of gender inequality and hinder individuals’ ability to achieve potential by restricting choices and opportunities.  This paper aims to highlight the impacts of gender stereotypes on women’s participation in the paid workforce and contribute to the exposure of the link between gender stereotypes and the perpetuation of gender inequality.  Whilst there is mainstream recognition of interactions between gender equality and female participation in the paid workforce, there is lack of acknowledgement and action within policy and programmatic activity relating to the dismantling of gender stereotypes as a strategy to support the promotion of gender equality and economic growth.  The paper will highlight strategies for minimising the effects of unconscious bias in recruitment in the workplace as an intervention for challenging gender stereotypes in support of gender equality and smart economics.  This paper focuses on ‘gender’ in unconscious bias, however unconscious bias also relates to race, ethnicity, age and other identity characteristics.  The paper’s recommendations can be adopted in both the public and the private sector- interventions which fall out of the higher-level strategies may vary depending on sector and context.

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A path toward social inclusion through Community Capacity Building in multicultural Australia

By Vivian Rivera

Vivian represented the University of South Australia at the 2016 OECD Forum in Paris.  

Abstract 

Community Capacity Building (CCB) has been a practice of OECD member countries in the context of social development, and has been regarded as an effective mechanism for moving toward a more inclusive society. CCB programs carried out in Australia have made a sound contribution in fostering communities' participation, and making steps towards more effective ways of social inclusion. CCB has the potential to bolster the qualities, knowledge and strengths of local communities to take more responsibility for their own well-being while contributing to the social and economic life of the broader society. This paper outlines CCB pathways that have the potential to build on individuals’ existing strengths and capabilities to enter the Australia’s workforce, as a means to foster active participation in the social, political and economic life and ensure greater social inclusion.

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Give Indigenous Australian women and infants a chance at life: addressing the disparity in maternal-infant health outcomes

By Kaitlyn Krahe

Kaitlyn represented Victoria University at the 2016 OECD Forum in Paris.  

Abstract

Urged by a national public awareness campaign in 2008, the Council of Australian Governments (COAG) formally committed to “Closing the Gap” between the health outcomes of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians within a generation (FaHCSIA, 2012). Almost a decade since this agreement, significant discrepancies persist. Of particular concern and even greater urgency are the pervasive inequalities which render Australian Indigenous women twice as likely to experience severe maternal morbidity and three times more likely to die during pregnancy compared to non-Indigenous women (ABS, 2015). Similarly, infants of Indigenous descent have double the risk of dying during their first year of life (AIHW, 2014a). The onus of overcoming this entrenched cycle of endemic disadvantage, underpinned by more than two hundred years of systematic dispossession, exacerbated by decades of underinvestment and a distinct lack of accessible facilities offering culturally competent resources, compels all members of civil society, government policy makers and key stakeholders in the education, health and social support spheres to “Close the Gap”. This paper will posit strategies for improving maternal-infant health outcomes by addressing the root socioeconomic causes which give rise to inequality, better accounting for all Indigenous people in national data collection and developing culturally appropriate and inclusive healthcare using a rights-based, community focused framework.

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