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2 min read

When Gender Equality Becomes Unsafe

The concept of gender equality and ‘closing the pay gap’ has taken on a different meaning from what might have been its intended pursuit. Rather than valuing the different but equally important contributions both men and women make in the workplace, companies and organisations have created objectives aiming to highlight their dedication to equality, through hiring practices that have inadvertently led to safety concerns within the workplace.

Regulators are pushing businesses to actively pursue gender parity in the workplace, but there is a considerable concern that this pursuit has led many workplaces to inadvertently compromise safety.

We must ensure that safety standards remain paramount and that the drive for achieving "gender equality" is not inadvertently driving down the safety of our workers in workplaces across our nation. 

When it comes to hiring or promoting employees, gender should not be part of the criteria. Instead, selection should be based on an individual's qualifications, skills, and experience that directly align with the job's requirements. Skills and qualifications must be the top priority.

Some sectors may necessitate a more even representation of both men and women, whereas others may be influenced by sector-specific safety considerations, impacting workforce composition.

Continual assessment of the impact of gender equality initiatives on safety is crucial. Prioritising workplace safety is non-negotiable, certain policies or practices related to gender equality are adversely affecting safety, and these concerns require immediate attention.

Companies and organizations have taken to implementing blanket gender equality policies instead of celebrating the inherent strengths of both men and women through the concept of equal pay for equal work.

In the mining industry, women taking on traditionally male roles has posed challenges. In some instances, male workers have had to handle their tasks and take on those initially assigned to women due to physical constraints. This highlights concerns that our women are being put in a position where the work assigned to them is potentially not safe or appropriate.  

It is incumbent upon the employer to uphold compliance with all relevant laws and regulations concerning workplace safety for both men and women, ensuring that roles are assigned based on abilities and not gender.

If you feel your workplace has safety issues arising from the push for gender equality, we want to know.

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