Pathways to Gender Equality in Australia - The role of Merit and Quotas

on Sunday, 08 February 2015. Posted in Discrimination, ACLW Publishing, Transform, ACLW Research , Topical Issues, Press Releases

Pathways to Gender Equality in Australia - The role of Merit and Quotas


'Pathways to Gender Equality - The role of Merit and Quotas' is available for sale for $12 AUD

at Amazon

This book is also available for public libraries and institutions: 


About 'Pathways to Gender Equality - The role of Merit and Quotas'

(Edited by Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey)

In Australia there continues to be an unprecedented level of awareness of the glass ceiling for women in many key sectors. A surge of strategies to overcome the gender equality gap has also been spear headed by public and some private organisations.

Despite some progress, overall, women’s inclusion and equal representation in leadership remains slow. This book attempts to reflect on what is sustaining the barriers women experience in different Australian sectors and, in particular, focus on the concept and application of merit as it is the accepted underlying principle that governs recruitment and advancement for men and women in Australian workplaces. This book also considers other strategies to equalize opportunities for women with a particular focus on quotas, voluntary and mandatory.

Leading women and men were invited to discuss their thoughts on merit and quotas in relation to their nominated sector of involvement or their research of a sector of interest. 

'Pathways to Gender Equality - The role of Merit and Quotas' was launched by Senator Claire Moore at Parliament House Sydney on 6 March 2015. Authors, Professor Margaret Thornton,  Dr Gabrielle McMullin and Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey spoke at the launch. The Launch was preceded by ACLW's 2015 SWECO Award Ceremony at 3pm.



The E-Book Launch was videotaped. Here are some excerpts:


Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey on the need for a multidimensional approach headed by quotas for women in businessDr Diann Rodgers-Healey on the need for a multidimensional approach headed by quotas for women in business


Senator Claire Moore launching the E-book


Professor Margaret Thornton on the construction of Merit


Dr Gabrielle McMullin on the barriers at the higher end of Medicine when women want to become surgeons in Australia


The E-book, 'Pathways to Gender Equality - The role of Merit and Quotas' brings together the following contributions:


Chapters and Authors:


  1. Waiting for Gender Equality in Leadership as we rely on Merit and hold off Quotas: Is this approach effective?  

Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey

  1. Breaking the Glass Ceiling? Some notes on Gender and Merit in Australian Journalism

Dr Folker Hanusch

  1. Women in Medicine: Sisters doing it for themselves           

Dr Gabrielle McMullin

  1. Merit in a Legal Frame   

Professor Margaret Thornton

  1. Merit in relation to Primary and Secondary Education

Karen Spiller

  1. Is Merit on the Agenda? Approaches to Recruitment and Promotion in Australian Organisations

Professor Glenda Strachan and Associate Professor Erica French


Foreword by Professor the Hon. Stephen Martin, Chief Executive, Committee for Economic Development for Australia (CEDA)

"I welcome this important addition to the debate on gender equality in Australia. Progress on this issue has unfortunately been very slow. It is for this reason it is vital it remains squarely on the agenda and books such as this are a key component in ensuring that happens."


Elizabeth Broderick, Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission

"Increasing the representation of women in leadership is a priority of national economic and societal importance. As this book highlights, the opportunity of the untapped talent pool that women represent must be put in the broader context of gender equality. The featured experts provide interesting and thought provoking reflections across a range of key sectors. The book touches on the traditional concept of merit - and how women's talents and their merit is all too often invisible. It also presents an important discussion on pathways towards greater gender equality by covering important topics such as voluntary targets and mandatory quotas, and workplace strategies to end sexual harassment and dismantle harmful stereotypes. This research is a important contribution for all those who are looking for ways to ensure that our workplaces are places where both men and women thrive."


About the Authors:


Erica French 2 Associate Professor Erica French

BBus, MBus, PhD 

ERICA FRENCH is Associate Professor of Management, Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane, Australia. She has published research on women in management, strategic change and equal employment opportunity in journals such as British Journal of Management, Women in Management Review, Equal Opportunity International and Asia Pacific Journal of Human Resources. She co-authored Managing Diversity in Australia: Theory and Practice, with Glenda Strachan and John Burgess, published in 2010.


website pic Dr Folker Hanusch

BA(Hons), GradCert (Higher Education), PhD

FOLKER HANUSCH is a Vice-Chancellor’s Research Fellow in Journalism at Queensland University of Technology. Prior to this he was a senior lecturer and program leader in journalism at the University of the Sunshine Coast. He has also worked as a journalist for Australian and German-language newspapers. His main research interests are in journalism culture, comparative journalism studies, lifestyle and travel journalism, Indigenous journalism, as well as journalism and suffering. He has authored two monographs (Journalism Across Cultures: An Introduction, 2011, with Levi Obijiofor, published by Palgrave; Representing Death in the News: Journalism, Media and Mortality, 2010, published by Palgrave), and edited two books (Lifestyle Journalism, 2013, published by Routledge; Travel Journalism: Exploring Production, Impact and Culture, 2014, with Elfriede Fürsich, published by Palgrave). He has also authored more than 70 journal articles, book chapters and conference papers. His work has appeared in a number of international journals, such as Media, Culture & Society; European Journal of Communication; International Communication Gazette; Journalism: Theory, Practice; Criticism; Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly and Journalism Studies.


IMG 3733 Dr Gabrielle McMullin


GABRIELLE MCMULLIN was born in 1956 in Uganda where her father worked for the British Colonial Service. The family moved to Hong Kong in 1961 and she completed her schooling there. She studied medicine at Trinity College, Dublin, Ireland and graduated in 1980. She started a residency program in New Zealand in 1981 and it was there that she developed her interest in surgery. She obtained a surgical training position in Hong Kong and after two years moved to the UK where she passed the Edinburgh fellowship examination (FRCSEd) in order to start surgical training. She then worked at the Middlesex Hospital in London and completed a Masters degree in Surgery in a field of vascular surgery which was to become her chosen specialty. While in London she published over 20 papers. She moved to Australia in 1990 and became a Fellow of the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons in 1993, the same year her son was born. She was appointed as a VMO in Vascular Surgery at The Sutherland Hospital in Sydney in 1995 and subsequently also at St. George Hospital in Sydney and continues to work at both hospitals. She was appointed as a Senior Lecturer at UNSW in 2008 and teaches medical students at The Sutherland Hospital. She has a strong interest in leg ulceration and wound healing and continues to pursue research in this area. She has been a mentor to a number of women in surgery and attempts to support trainees and colleagues. She has two children and an extremely supportive husband who manages her life and provides meals.


Karen Spiller 2013b Karen Spiller


KAREN SPILLER has had teaching and leadership experience in both girls’ and co-educational Anglican schools for over 30 years. She has been Principal at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School for fifteen years. Karen is a Past National President for the Alliance of Girls’ Schools, Australasia and is a member of the National Board of the Association of Heads in Independent Schools and Independent Schools Queensland. She is also is a Board Member for another school, as well as for the St Aidan’s Foundation. Karen is an accredited Executive Coach and is proud to have mentored a number of staff into senior leadership roles including five as Principals. Karen was a Finalist for Not for Profit Manager of the Year (Brisbane) for the 2010 AIM Management Excellence Awards and in 2009 was awarded the John Laing Professional Award (Qld) for leading professional development of others. This was conferred by Principals Australia following a recommendation by AHISA (Qld) for her work in leadership development. Also in 2010 she was recognized with the National Award for Excellence in School Music Education 2010: Excellence by a School Leader by the Federal Government. In 2010 and 2011 she was a finalist in the EOWA Employer of Choice for Women Business Achievement Awards in the category of Leading CEO for the Advancement of Women. Karen is a Fellow of the Australian Institute of Management, the Australian Institute of Company Directors, the Australian Human Resources Institute, the Australian Council for Educational Leaders and the Australian College of Educators. In 2011 she was awarded a Churchill Fellowship “To examine strategies for preparing female leaders for the position of Principalship in Australian Schools” and travelled to the United Kingdom and United States for this study. In 2013 Karen was awarded Fellow of “The CEO Institute” and appointed as a Fellow of Bond University and the inaugural Principal in Residence.


Photo Glenda Strachan Glenda Strachan

BA, Dip Ed, PhD

GLENDA STRACHAN is Professor, Department of Employment Relations and Human Resources, in the Griffith Business School, Griffith University, Queensland. She has developed a body of research on contemporary and historical workplace change especially issues that relate to women’s working experiences, and has examined these within organisations, at the level of national policies and an international comparative context. She co-authored Managing Diversity in Australia: Theory and Practice, with Erica French and John Burgess, published in 2010. Her work has been published in international and Australian journals including the British Journal of Industrial Relations, Equal Opportunities International and Women in Management Review.


image016 Professor Margaret Thornton


MARGARET THORNTON is Professor of Law and ANU Public Policy Fellow at the Australian National University. Her research interests span feminist legal theory, discrimination, legal education, legal profession and the corporatisation of universities. Her current research project, ‘Balancing Law and Life’, addresses the issue of work/life balance in the legal profession in the context of globalisation and increasing competition. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Social Sciences in Australia and a Foundation Fellow of the Australian Academy of Law.


Diann Rodgers Healey Dr Diann Rodgers-Healey

BA, MEd, PhD, DipEd

DR DIANN RODGERS-HEALEY is the Director of the Australian Centre for Leadership for Women (ACLW) at Diann is Adjunct Professor in The Cairns Institute of James Cook University, The University of Notre Dame's Business School and Fellow of the University of Wollongong’s Academy of Tertiary Teaching and Learning Excellence (WATTLE). She has held positions of leadership in Sydney and London. In 2009 she received The World of Difference 100 Award from The International Alliance of Women and was the 2013 Finalist in the NSW Premier’s Woman of the Year Award. Diann is the author of several books including ‘Considerations for Australia’s next woman Prime Minister,’ ‘Abandoning Leadership for a better way of being for women and men’ and ‘Women’s Activism.’