Actions for individuals and organisations to close the gender gap

close the gender gap

As the gender gap continues to be high, a better response is for both individuals and organisations to set tangible actions at the forefront.   

In the Australia's Gender Equality Scorecard 2022 recently released by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA), there is sadly little to celebrate. 

The gender pay gap is 22.8%, exactly the same as the previous year. Women earned $26,596 less than men on average, which means that for every $10 dollars earned by men, women earned $7.72. Every single industry in Australia has a gender pay gap that favours men.

At the leadership level, WGEA reports that men are twice as likely to be in the top income bracket and women are 1.5 times more likely to be in the lowest. Only 22.3% of Australian CEOs are women (up 2.9% from the previous year) and only 20% of boards have gender balance, while 22.3% of boards are all-male. Men are significantly more likely to hold managerial positions even in female-dominated industries including healthcare, education and retail.

LEARN MORE: The gender gap and the action gap in Australia


As an aspirational woman, what can you do?

Whether you want to lead your first small team or step into a board role, aspirational women can help smash through common barriers to promotion by taking action.

Have a plan and take control

Make a career plan complete with goals and milestones linked to clear timelines. Determine what you need to do to reach your next goal and how you are going to get there. Get into the habit of measuring your progress while staying agile enough to adjust course when necessary. Take the wheel: don’t fall into the trap of waiting for someone else to offer you the next step in your career.

Find a sponsor

Not to be confused with a mentor, a sponsor is someone in your leadership team who will advocate for you (as an emerging leader) among their executive peers. A sponsor can be a powerful force in career advancement and may provide access to high-stakes assignments that would be otherwise out of reach.

Talk about gender equality

Encourage colleagues to discuss equality to increase visibility and force action on the issue. This could take the form of an informal chat in the office or on online collaboration platforms, or a more formal presentation where you share the latest stats with your team and discuss what needs to be done.

Take risks

The jury is still out on whether or not women take fewer professional risks than men, but what we do know is that job mobility in 2022 hit its highest level since 2012, with 1.3 million Australians changing jobs. That’s a mobility rate of 9.5% of all employed people, suggesting that the continuing robust demand for labor and plenty of available jobs is giving people the confidence to seek better roles. The key takeaway is that women whose career progression has stalled can have the confidence to take a risk and start the search for a new employer.

Focus on your leadership skills

Use a skills assessment to get an objective view of your leadership skills, then look for opportunities to plug these capability gaps. Options include learning by observing leaders in your team, online training courses, mentoring others, or taking part in more formal leadership training programs run by your organisation. Even the act of requesting to join a leadership development program may be enough to get you on the radar of senior decision-makers hunting for emerging talent.

Seek out a career-defining challenge

People tend to get their big promotion on the strength of a particular success rather than on a history of solid results. Look out for the perfect challenge: something that is highly visible and difficult yet achievable. You might be surprised to discover how far a successful outcome will take you.

How can leaders & organisations support positive change

Setting targets

Setting targets for improving workplace gender equality and increasing the number of women at all levels of leadership.

Having clear flexibility policies

Having clear flexibility policies and ensuring flexible/remote/part-time workers are rewarded and promoted. Ensure full-time, office-based workers are not favoured for promotion simply because they are more visible.

Offering better parental leave options

Offering employer-funded paid parental leave and encouraging both genders to use primary carers’ leave.

Removing hurdles

Identifying and removing hurdles to women re-entering the workforce after parental leave. Learn about Six Degrees Executive’s involvement in the Encoreship Program.

Creating partnerships

Partnering with expert bodies; Six Degrees Executive has joined Diversity Council Australia to benefit from their events and programs, research, advice and other resources to help drive diversity and inclusion.

Being accountable

Conducting and acting upon gender pay gap and leadership gap analyses.

Get in touch

We’re passionate about closing the gender gap at Six Degrees Executive. Contact us to learn about current opportunities and how we can support individuals and organisations take steps in the right direction on this important topic.

Contact the team