Gender equality is only part of the picture, we are striving for intersectionality
9th April 2021
Written by Benetas CEO Sandra Hills OAM
There is a lot of discussion about gender at the moment, and rightly so. There is still a long way to go to get a sense of a truly equal society.
Not surprisingly, being in aged care, the workforce at Benetas is 85% female and 15% male (as at July 2020 WGEA compliance report). Our Manager roles are made up of 67% females and our non-Manager roles are made up of 86% females.
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency reports that 60% of Australians work in an industry dominated by a single gender. Moreover, more than 80% of employees in the health care and social assistance sector are women, while 84% of employees in the construction and mining industries are men.
This segregation starts early with graduates overwhelmingly entering fields dominated by their own gender – almost 90% of the graduates in the health care and social assistance industry are women, while men continue to dominate construction (almost 80%) and mining (almost two-thirds).
Benetas is of the view that we need men to help support and drive gender equality outcomes. Not just because it is seen to be the right thing to do but because we understand and embrace the positives that come from a diverse and gender balanced workforce.
Benetas has been recognised as an Employer of Choice for Gender Equality, designed to encourage, recognise and promote active commitment to achieving gender equality in Australian workplaces, and has held this citation for 15 consecutive years.
Our Board composition and selection policy for example outlines a requirement for Benetas to have at least three female directors, at least three male directors, and flexibility for the remaining three.
But it is not just about gender. For Benetas, intersectionality is important, which means acknowledging it’s no longer about gender and skin colour. Nor is it just about age and ability.
It’s about all of these elements, plus peoples’ stories; their experiences, their upbringing and their views on the world. Embracing the good, bad and in-between that people have experienced and how that makes every single person completely unique.
This richness in diversity creates positive outcomes in many areas such as a variety of thoughts, ideas and perspectives, creativity and innovation, collaboration, a sense of inclusion, belonging and psychological safety, job satisfaction, engagement, performance, profit and an expanded talent pool.
In striving for this, Benetas has a number of initiatives in place. We have a social dividend budget whereby every year we support the Given the Chance program - an employment program for disadvantaged job seekers, in collaboration with Brotherhood of St Laurence.
We also have the Spark program in which we partner with training and community-based organisations to welcome a number of ‘sparkies’ each year. These are often younger people who enter an apprenticeship style program for on-the-job training with a view to long term employment.
In addition, we support the Centre for Cultural Diversity in Ageing which is striving for inclusion across the aged care sector more broadly with the Inclusive Service Standards.
The employee and candidate experience is crucial at Benetas. And you will notice via our most recent campaigns that we truly embrace our differences - as people matter to our organisation, they matter to our clients, residents and loved ones and they contribute to building an inclusive and high performing workplace.
We encourage people of all genders and backgrounds to consider a career in aged care. The Aged Care Workforce Industry Council (ACWIC) has recently launched a campaign encouraging people to Bring your thing and explore a career in aged care. Further details can be found at www.acwic.com.au/careers/. And there are many roles available across Benetas, within Residential Services, Community Health and Care, Primary Care and Support Services.