Striving for gender equality on International Women’s Day

The Department of Human Services (DHS) is confirming its commitment to gender equality on International Women’s Day this Thursday (8 March).

“The Department of Human Services is Australia’s largest Australian Public Service agency – with more than 33,000 people – and its largest employer of women,” Secretary Renée Leon said.

“We have offices all around the country. We are a big employer in regional areas. We contribute to women working in their local community.

“I’m proud to lead a workplace that is working to provide equal opportunity and advancement in employment regardless of gender. Women represent half of the population and it’s important our leadership is reflective of the Australian community.”

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day, Press for Progress, encourages a united effort towards achieving gender parity.

“We have a high percentage – about 31 per cent – of employees working part-time and the majority of these are women,” Ms Leon said.

“We also want men to be able to take family care roles and enter part-time arrangements too. Over the past five years, we’ve seen the proportion of men in part-time arrangements move from 8 per cent to 13 per cent of our part-time workforce, which is encouraging.

“While it is important we provide for flexibility in the workplace it is equally important that we encourage and enable women to progress their careers, into management and leadership roles. The fact 46 per cent of our Senior Executive Service are women shows we are heading in the right direction, but given the gender composition of the department with over 70 per cent of our workforce women, there is still more to do.

Our Gender Equality Plan outlines clear ways staff can work together to address unconscious bias in the workplace, promote gender equality and foster a culture of access and inclusion.

“As part of this we’ve appointed a Gender Equality Champion, responsible for promoting an equitable and inclusive workplace for all staff and genders. I’m truly proud of our commitment to achieving gender equality in the workplace.”

Ms Leon’s move to DHS in late 2017 continues the strong female leadership the department has had over the past eight years.

More information about the department’s diversity initiatives is available in our annual report:

Media contact:   1800 531 991