27 September 2023

Union survey finds out What (PS) Women Want

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The Community and Public Sector Union has released the findings of its 11th survey of What Women Want, an annual project aimed at identifying the issues affecting women in the public sector workplace.

According to the union, the latest survey found that flexible work arrangements continued to be a key issue for women, along with negotiating part-time work, working from home or accessing leave when needed.

“These issues are crucial to women’s working lives,” the union said.

“We’re seeing that employees will consider finding new employment if their agency does not allow them to work flexibly – and there are now more options available for them to do so.”

The union said it uses the results of the survey to inform its policies, campaigns, and industrial strategies.

“The report also includes information about how the CPSU has used the findings of previous reports and outcomes achieved in areas of interest to women,” the union said.

The survey revealed that four out of five (81.9%) of the respondents regarded working at home in normal work hours very important to them, a rise from two thirds (65.6%) in 2019.

Among the survey the union found that only 26.3% of women who experienced sexual harassment in the past 12 months reported the incident and only (10%) who did so were satisfied with the response.

It also found that three in 10 (29.7%) accepted that the complaints of sexual harassment were dealt with quickly and appropriately, down from two in five (38.0%) in 2019.

“A significantly larger proportion of women now disagree or strongly disagree that there is adequate training on sexual harassment,” the union said, “41.1% in 2021 versus 23.5% in 2019“.

It found complaints regarding sexual harassment were dealt with quickly (24.5% in 2021 compared to 9.5% in 2019) and management placed importance on eliminating sexual harassment, up to 29.8% in 2021 against 13.8% in 2019.

National Secretary of the CPSU, Mellissa Donnelly said the union’s members had identified an enormous range of issues that contribute to gender inequity and reflects a workplace culture that fails to keep them safe.

“The problem is not that women are failing to propose solutions,” Ms Donnelly said.

“The problem is that government and employers are failing to listen and act.”

The full report of the 11th What Women Want survey can be accessed on the CPSU website.

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