Using Data to Drive Gender Equality in Employment: More Power to the People?

Australian Journal of Labour Law, Vol. 28, No. 3, pp. 191-213, 2015

Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 16/35

24 Pages Posted: 13 May 2016

See all articles by Belinda Smith

Belinda Smith

The University of Sydney Law School; University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Monica Hayes

The College of Law, Sydney

Date Written: August 11, 2015

Abstract

After almost 30 years of unsuccessfully trying to effect gender equality in employment through legislation that asks employers to self-review and report on processes, the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 (Cth) represents a new regulatory approach. The regulatory shift is toward using information disclosure and standards to drive gender equality by enabling employees and other stakeholders to demand better gender performance of employers. This approach is evident in the nature and form of information employers are required to disclose, the public availability of the reports, and the critical role played by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency in disseminating and deciphering the data for stakeholders. In this paper we explore this shift by tracing disclosure requirements under earlier versions of the legislation and contrasting these to the new regime. While not sufficient to bring about gender equality, providing this data is certainly necessary to enable employees to demand better gender performance by employers.

Keywords: Gender, equality, work, affirmative action, Australia, women, information regulation, Workplace Gender Equality Act

JEL Classification: K10, K30

Suggested Citation

Smith, Belinda M. and Hayes, Monica, Using Data to Drive Gender Equality in Employment: More Power to the People? (August 11, 2015). Australian Journal of Labour Law, Vol. 28, No. 3, pp. 191-213, 2015, Sydney Law School Research Paper No. 16/35, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2778826

Belinda M. Smith (Contact Author)

The University of Sydney Law School ( email )

New Law Building, F10
The University of Sydney
Sydney, NSW 2006
Australia

University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

Monica Hayes

The College of Law, Sydney ( email )

Sydney
Australia

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