Why 50/50?

We believe the past few decades have seen a global awakening to the value of gender equality, and momentum for change is building. However, increasingly complex social and organisational structures mean new thinking is needed to ensure that progress towards gender diversity and the maximisation of human capital does not falter. 

Until hard won gains are sustained and assured, women’s progress remains vulnerable to the fragilities of economic fortunes and political will. And none of us can wait the 170 years the World Economic Forum estimates it will take to achieve economic gender equality.

Australia’s annual backward slide in the WEF Global Gender Gap Index, from a world ranking of 15 in 2006, to 46 in 2016, provides stark evidence that the gender equality project in this country is in trouble. In particular, our rates of economic opportunity for women and their political participation are declining against the global trend, at a rapid rate. This should serve as a clarion call to our public leaders.

While the challenges faced by women and girls are myriad and complex, it would seem that despite Australia’s leadership in developing some of the best anti-discrimination legislative frameworks in the world, the current climate of bias and backlash is immune to regulatory control.

That there are barriers to the progression of women in public leadership is not in doubt.

What is not well understood is the nature of those barriers, and the extent to which they differ from the private sector.

That there are barriers to the progression of women in public leadership is not in doubt. What is not well understood is the nature of those barriers, and the extent to which they differ from the private sector. In 2013 IGPA launched a watershed report, 'Not Yet 50/50:Barriers to the Progress of Senior Women in the Australian Public Service'.Screen Shot 2017 09 09 at 3.37.24 pm

Screen Shot 2017 09 09 at 3.48.05 pmThe key findings surprised both men and women in the marked difference of opinion as to what stood in the way of women. Whilst men viewed family commitments as a major obstacle to women’s progress, senior women identified issues around ‘confidence’ and a lack of ‘self-belief’ as primary obstacles.

The 50/50 Foundation aims to hold a mirror up to those organisational, social and cultural structures that are imbued with unspoken assumptions about gender, and the role of women. 

Backed by world class research expertise, the Foundation is focused on developing evidence based theory and leading practice on the role of women in strengthening public administration and improving governance and national well-being.

Our bespoke training modules; seminars, and events aim to challenge the prevailing discourse around women, power and public leadership. As such, the 50/50 Foundation will provide a rich resource for local, national and international governments; political parties; public sector and civil service administrations, to support their efforts to achieve gender parity in leadership by the year 2030.