A study that is three-year revealed serious gender imbalances in Australia’s worldwide relations sector, despite some prominent trailblazers.

A study that is three-year revealed serious gender imbalances in Australia’s worldwide relations sector, despite some prominent trailblazers.

Danielle Cave, Alex Oliver, Jenny Hayward-Jones, Kelsey Munro, Erin Harris

Key Findings

  • Australia’s worldwide relations sector features a gender that is severe with its workforce, despite some notable trailblazers in some prominent functions.
  • The sector just isn’t acting swiftly sufficient to deal with the instability, with less feamales in essential diplomatic and intelligence roles, policy-shaping tasks and senior roles in contrast to worldwide peers, the business sector and the general public sector all together.
  • This instability has to be addressed for the sector to help make its workforces more efficient and revolutionary, utilising the most useful available skill to navigate Australia’s destination within an world that is increasingly complex.

Executive Overview

Australia’s worldwide relations sector — the divisions and organisations which are in charge of performing Australia’s worldwide relations — has a gender that is severe with its workforce. The pace of change has been slow and uneven across the sector while there have been notable trailblazers. Some of the most significant diplomatic postings have ever been held by a female. Females usually do not appear in the sector’s key activities that are policy-shaping. Notably fewer women can be increasing to senior roles when you look at the sector weighed against the Australian general public sector in general, worldwide peers, additionally the business sector. The sex instability into the Australian Intelligence Community is specially pronounced.

It’s important for the sector to handle this instability. A far more diverse workforce can not only better reflect Australian culture, but take advantage of the available skill pool. There clearly was significant proof from the personal sector that gender-balanced workforces are far more effective, efficient, and revolutionary. Through to the sector better represents Australian society it does not make use of the most readily useful available skill to navigate Australia’s destination within an world that is increasingly complex.


Australia’s worldwide relations sectorrelations that are international1 features a sex issue. Perhaps the focus is Australia’s diplomatic envoys, federal federal government divisions with worldwide functions, academia or think tanks, or the Australian Parliament, there clearly was a shortage that is acute of ladies serving into the most critical and strategic functions either in Australia or abroad.

There were trailblazers when you look at the sector, especially in the last several years. During the early 2019 in Australia, we now have a feminine Foreign Minister, Senator Marise Payne; a new feminine defence Minister, Senator Linda Reynolds; Shadow Foreign Affairs Minister, Senator Penny Wong; and Secretary associated with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), Frances Adamson. In the last few years we’ve additionally seen a female prime minister (Julia Gillard) and Governor-General (Quentin Bryce), and also the country’s first female Foreign Minister (Julie Bishop) and Defence Minister (Senator Payne), and very first feminine Secretaries of general general public solution divisions. There has been two feminine ambassadors to Asia and Australia’s very first female Defence cleverness agency manager.2 On these examples, it’s tempting to summarize that the sector’s gender diversity challenges are mainly solved, and it’s also correct that there’s been significant progress.

A comprehensive analysis regarding the information, but, helps it be clear that the speed of modification happens to be sluggish and that the sector is well behind other people both in Australia and abroad.

Female Minds of Mission

For instance, there never been an ambassador that is female high commissioner to Washington DC, Jakarta, Tokyo or London3 and just around one-third of Australian ambassadors, high commissioners, and minds of objective are ladies.4 One-quarter associated with influential Secretaries Committee on National Security are females, a rise from none in 2015/16 additionally the greatest into the committee’s history.5 Simply over a 3rd of people of parliament are ladies.6 The sex instability for the Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and safety can also be striking. Since its inception in 1998, the Committee hasn’t been chaired with a feminine mp as well as for almost 50 % of that point has received no feminine people at all, including as recently as 2015. Feminine account happens to be 27 %, up from 18 percent into the last parliament.7parliament that is last

Just four times ever sold have females headed Australia’s internationally concentrated service that is public and agencies.8 When it comes to purposes with this study, these are DFAT, Attorney-General’s Department, Department of Defence, Department of Immigration and Border Protection (DIBP)/Department of Home Affairs,9 Department associated with Prime Minister and Cabinet (PM&C), plus Treasury, the Australian Federal Police (AFP), and Austrade.10 Additionally included will be the six major agencies associated with Australian Intelligence Community (AIC),11 three of which sit in the Defence Department.12

You can find far fewer feamales in the senior handling of these organisations in comparison to the typical over the Australian Public provider (APS).13 Just 14 percent of minds of divisions and agencies within the scholarly research are ladies (2 in 14),14 compared to 50 % of Commonwealth federal government division heads overall15 and 31 % of all of the APS agency minds.16 Around 45 % for the executive that is senior (SES) throughout the public solution are female,17 in comparison with only 33 % of this senior professional regarding the core internationally-facing divisions and agencies in this research.18

Ladies are under-represented within the AIC overall, specially at senior levels19 and across technical, operational, and roles that are analytical.20 While there is a marked improvement in senior representation that is female some agencies within the AIC in the last couple of years (the Australian Security Intelligence organization (ASIO) is notable, with 42 percent of females with its SES in 2018 compared to 34 % 2 yrs earlier, as it may be the Australian Signals Directorate (ASD), with present efforts using ladies in its SES to 56 per cent21), feminine presence within the senior administrator service over the AIC is well underneath the APS average. In certain agencies it offers declined in the last 5 years, dropping as little as 9 % when you look at the workplace of National Assessments (ONA; now Office of National Intelligence) in 2016 and 24 percent averaged throughout the three cleverness agencies within Defence.22

Finally, females seldom feature within the sector’s key policy-shaping tasks. A woman is yet to be selected to lead on any major foreign policy, defence, intelligence, or trade white paper, inquiry or independent review from the study’s research on declared authorship.23

This three-year study of sex stability into the sector will be based upon a data-gathering that is comprehensive analysis procedure that has gathered and brought together the very first time 2 full decades of information on sex representation across the sector. This consists of service that is public information from Australia’s 14 international-facing federal government divisions and agencies; an analysis regarding the gender asiandate stability in international postings throughout the sector; the workers of relevant parliamentary committees; complete historic information on leadership of Australia’s international missions; gender-based protection approval data; overview of the sector’s gender and variety policies and social audits, and authorship of most major policy-setting workouts into the sector. The study had been supplemented with an amazing qualitative study of 646 respondents (male and feminine) employed in the sector: “Gender Diversity and Australia’s Overseas Relations”; along with in-person interviews with about 50 professionals, minds of division, and senior leaders throughout the sector to analyze the sources of the sector’s general not enough progress in handling its sex instability. The findings suggest that the sector lags somewhat behind the remainder of Australia’s general public solution and also corporate Australia in handling workforce sex inequalities, especially during the senior administrator and leadership amounts.