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Byron Shire
June 24, 2024

Lismore Council on gender equity in management

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Last night Lismore Council met for their monthly meeting and Councillor Big Rob asked a question about gender equality in the upper echelons of Council.

Cr Rob wanted the General Manager to advise the chamber on how many and what percentage of women currently occupy permanent roles in the top three levels of Council management; why there is such a wide gender gap at the top three levels, and; how exactly Council is effectively implementing its commitment to provide effective management and responsible governance by improving gender equality in Council’s workforce?

Mr Walker said that there is an imbalance which is obvious. ‘There are 22 roles and the top three levels of management of the organisation and three of those are currently vacant. Of the 19 roles that are filled seven are held by women which is 37 per cent.’

Cautious of the use of binary sex definitions

Mr Walker said he was cautious of the use of binary sex definitions and not gender identity in this question. ‘I think that’s an important statement to make.

‘I’ve appointed only two roles and the top three levels since my engagement – both were filled by females. The Council statement when recruiting is that: “Council values and understands equity and diversity in the workplace and we are committed to the development of a culture that is supportive of the principles. We will select the most suitable applicant for each vacant position on the basis of job-related selection criteria. An individual’s race, sex, age, disability, marital status, sexual preference or membership of ethnic or minority group, will not affect his or her chances of employment”.

‘Council has recently appointed a new Manager of People and Culture who was a female and we will review our plans and procedures to ensure we’re taking all reasonable steps to ensure non-discriminatory practices are applied when employing or managing staff and that all aspects of employment at a determined that way.’

Gender equity motion from 2017

Cr Ekins wanted to bring to the General Manager’s attention a motion that she moved in 2017 that was on gender equity. ‘This was adopted by Council, that “Council measure, track and report the ratio of female applicants and successful appointments at every stage of the recruitment process; 2: Council strategically drawn upon female networks to advertise and encourage women to apply for vacancies, and; 3: established dedicated strategies and development opportunities to mentor and sponsor women into leadership roles as part of a broader stance towards workplace diversity”.

‘I’ll just bring that to your attention. And wonder if we could have a report on the tracking and ratio of female applicants and successful appointments?’

The General Manager thanked Councillor Ekins for the prompt. ‘I was unaware of that policy and I fully support it.’

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  1. Yes gender equity is more important than qualifications and experience and we also need more inclusiveness around here, if you disagree with that then you will be excluded .

  2. Yeah, Ken. Them women are always ‘faster than a
    speeding bullet.’ Too much know-how & been there
    over & often enough. Cheers, Stef.


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