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‘Inequality serves no-one!’ is how Katy Gallagher pitched her speech to the Press Club on Thursday, March 7, the eve of International Women’s Day.

Gallagher, the Finance Minister and Minister for Women was launching the federal government’s Working for Women strategy. This consists of the 5 priority areas of ending gender-based violence, improving economic equality, security and health outcomes and ensuring women are better represented in leadership and decision-making roles.

There were sticks and carrots in the strategy:

A carrot is that superannuation will be paid on government parental leave from July next year. I’m just shocked that this was not already the case.

And a stick is that businesses employing more than 500 employees will be excluded from receiving government work if they fail to set gender targets on their boards and in their workforces.

This takes me to chapter 7 of my book called  We need to talk about quotas. I’ve never understood the resistance of business to set a numerical target to measure the effectiveness of their Inclusion and Diversity change programs. Business sets goals and targets for all other change strategies, so why not regarding the gender makeup of their organisation?

This stick now cunningly requires larger businesses to set gender ‘targets’ in order to get their piece of the annual federal government spend of $70bn a year on goods and services.  Clever don’t you think?