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

A study that is three-year revealed serious sex 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 includes a serious sex instability with its workforce, despite some notable trailblazers in some prominent functions.
  • The sector is certainly not acting swiftly sufficient to deal with the instability, with less ladies in essential diplomatic and cleverness roles, policy-shaping tasks and senior roles in contrast to worldwide peers, the sector that is corporate the general public sector all together.
  • This instability has to be addressed for the sector to produce its workforces more beneficial and revolutionary, with the most useful available skill to navigate Australia’s place 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 international relations — includes a gender that is severe with its workforce. While there has been notable trailblazers, the rate of modification happens to be sluggish and uneven over the sector. Some of the most significant postings that are diplomatic ever been held by a female. Ladies try not to come in the sector’s key activities that are policy-shaping. Dramatically less women can be increasing to senior jobs within the sector weighed against the Australian general general general public sector in general, worldwide peers, and also the sector that is corporate. The sex instability when you look at the Australian Intelligence Community is especially pronounced.

It’s important when it comes to sector to deal with this instability. An even more diverse workforce can not only better mirror Australian culture, but make full use of the available skill pool. There clearly was evidence that is substantial the personal sector that gender-balanced workforces tend to be more effective, efficient, and innovative. Before the sector better represents Australian culture it doesn’t make use of the most readily useful available skill to navigate Australia’s destination in an world that is increasingly complex.


Australia’s international relations sectorrelations that are international1 includes a sex issue. Or perhaps a focus is Australia’s diplomatic envoys, federal federal government departments with worldwide functions, academia or think tanks, or the Australian Parliament, there was a shortage that is acute of ladies serving when you look at the essential and strategic functions in a choice of Australia or abroad.

There has been trailblazers into the sector, especially in days gone by couple of years. In very early 2019 in Australia, we now have a lady Foreign Minister, Senator Marise Payne; a female that is new 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 past few years we now have additionally seen a feminine prime minister (Julia Gillard) and Governor-General (Quentin Bryce), plus the country’s first female Foreign Minister (Julie Bishop) and Defence Minister (Senator Payne), and very very first female Secretaries of general public solution departments. There has been two feminine ambassadors to Asia and Australia’s very first feminine Defence his response cleverness agency manager.2 On these examples, it’s tempting to close out that the sector’s gender diversity challenges are mainly settled, and it’s also true that there’s been significant progress.

A comprehensive analysis associated with the data, nonetheless, causes it to be clear that the rate 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 has not been a female ambassador or high commissioner to Washington DC, Jakarta, Tokyo or London3 and just around one-third of Australian ambassadors, high commissioners, and heads of objective are ladies.4 One-quarter regarding the influential Secretaries Committee on National protection are ladies, a rise from none in 2015/16 in addition to greatest within the committee’s history.5 Simply over a third of people in parliament are ladies.6 The sex instability associated with Parliamentary Joint Committee on Intelligence and Security can be striking. Since its inception in 1998, the Committee has not been chaired with A mp that is female and 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 within the last parliament.parliament that is last7

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

You will find far less feamales in the management that is senior of organisations in comparison with the common over the Australian Public provider (APS).13 Just 14 % of minds of divisions and agencies into the research are females (2 in 14),14 contrasted with 50 percent of Commonwealth federal federal government division heads overall15 and 31 % of all of the APS agency minds.16 Around 45 % associated with the senior professional solution (SES) over the general public solution are female,17 in comparison in just 33 % associated with the senior administrator regarding the core internationally-facing divisions and agencies in this research.18

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

Finally, females hardly ever function within the sector’s key activities that are policy-shaping. Through the study’s research on announced authorship, a lady is yet become chosen to lead on any major international policy, defence, cleverness, or trade white paper, inquiry or separate review.23

This three-year research of sex balance when you look at the sector will be based upon a comprehensive data-gathering and analysis procedure that has gathered and brought together the very first time 2 decades of information on sex representation throughout the sector. This can include service that is public information from Australia’s 14 international-facing federal government divisions and agencies; an analysis of this gender balance in international postings over the sector; the workers of appropriate parliamentary committees; complete historical information on leadership of Australia’s international missions; gender-based protection approval information; overview of the sector’s gender and variety policies and social audits, and authorship of most major policy-setting workouts when you look at the sector. The study had been supplemented with a considerable survey that is qualitative of participants (male and feminine) employed in the sector: “Gender Diversity and Australia’s Overseas Relations”; along with in-person interviews with around 50 executives, minds of division, and senior leaders over the sector to analyze what causes the sector’s general not enough progress in handling its sex imbalance. The findings suggest that the sector lags dramatically behind the remainder of Australia’s service that is public also corporate Australia in handling workforce sex inequalities, especially in the senior administrator and leadership amounts.