The annual NEEOPA 2016 end of year forum was on 22nd November hosted by IAG. It was a fantastic opportunity to wrap up an eventful year for NEEOPA members with this being the 7th forum of 2016, and network with fellow members afterwards.

We had the pleasure of hosting guest speaker Kate Jenkins, Sex Discrimination Commissioner.

In her keynote address, Kate shared with NEEOPA the three areas she is focusing in her role; sport, education and workplaces.

Kate’s three priorities in these areas are preventing violence against women, strengthening women’s economic security and diversity of voices in decision making and in public roles. Kate believes that all groups need to work to find solutions, from organisations to community groups, and it’s by working together that we can address the assumptions that the law will fix inequality, or that generational change will.

As collaboration is a key driver for Kate, she then threw to the attendees to share their feedback on her three priorities.

This is what our members said;

1. Key challenges and barriers to:

a. Embedding flexibility

i. Building trust + managing presenteeism

ii. Manager capability

iii. 1.2 FTE job share barrier

b. Ensuring adequate workplace responses to domestic and family violence

iv. First responder capability: more resources on the 1800Respect site

v. Having established protocols

vi. Awareness for colleagues and manager capability

c. Creating pathways to leadership for women

vii. Dealing with gender fatigue

viii. Managing fear of hiring for potential

ix. Affinity bias

x. Ensuring intersecting strategies

2. What needs to change to accelerate gender equality in your organisations

· CEO advocacy + that of middle managers

· Shifting paradigm of what success looks like

· Language + imagery

· Giving men permission to work flexibly

· Parental leave processes + re-entry to the workforce, staying in touch

· Systemic organisational unconscious bias being addressed

· Targets and KPI’s to keep leaders accountable: carrot + stick combination

3. The priorities for the Commissioner to address and advance going forward

· Women in sport: Kate shared she is working with the Commonwealth Games

· Complaints management

· Major public health campaigns

· Resources for middle managers

· Challenging stereotypes of roles/sectors

· Challenging the media to tell different stories

· Gross roots education and equality

Members then had the opportunity to share the one action they will be taking as a result of the wonderful discussion with the Commissioner.

Thank you to our members and venue hosts for a fantastic 2016, and we look forward to continuing our knowledge sharing in 2017.

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