FBE Centre for Workforce Futures Lighthouse Issues Forum

FBE Centre for Workforce Futures Lighthouse Issues Forum

Addressing the ostrich phenomenon: gender, cultural and age diversity and the future of workplace culture

The FBE Centre for Workforce Futures Lighthouse Issues Forum, held on Monday 28 May 2018 at the State Library of NSW brought together women leaders from the private, public and not-for-profit sectors to engage in a reflective dialogue on factors that organisations need to consider to when addressing systemic and every-day harassment and discrimination.

Media and scholarly attention on sexism and racism continues to grow in response to revelations about the continued prevalence of sexual harassment, race/cultural/age discrimination and vilification in organisations in Australia and other countries. In many cases the causes and proposed solutions have emphasised ‘unconscious bias’. Employer ignorance and/or lack of attention to poor practices in relation to difference and different identities in the workplace continues to perpetuate barriers to inclusion.

In this narrative the role played by organisational and workplaces cultures in creating practical barriers to inclusion and in sustaining poor practises in relation to difference and different identities has been obscured if not entirely ignored.

The panel explored the need to focus on workplace culture to enhance inclusive outcomes and consisted of:

  • Professor Lucy Taksa, Associate Dean (Research) and leader of the Centre for Workforce Diversity, Employment and Organisations pillar in Macquarie University’s Faculty of Business and Economics,
  • Swati Dave (CEO, Export Finance and Insurance Corporation),
  • Violet Roumeliotis (CEO, Settlement Services International) and
  • Vicki Telfer (Executive Director Industrial Relations, NSW Treasury)

The panel discussion also explored different ways to to minimise systemic and every-day harassment and discrimination across organisations and sectors and beyond a limited focus on individual biases. Lively discussion followed with questions raised about the role of power and the need to rethink assumptions about merit.

Highlights

Full Length Video

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