Curso de Preparación para el IELTS
« Exam Mock » – Lección 14
EXAMEN ENTERO – General Training
You will now have 4 listening exercises: 4 videos each followed by 1 quiz.
Gender equality act won’t fix discrimination, but it will make employers accountable
Associate Professor of Law at University of Melbourne
We’ve all seen the reports of studies demonstrating women’s inequality at work. It is well established that women are disproportionately under-represented in higher paid positions and industries, and that there is a gender pay gap of 17.5% between men and women. Lack of pay equity and equal opportunities are the elephants in the room for every woman in the Australian workforce.
Although the causes are complex, research suggests they are based in deep cultural expectations and stereotypes that are not to do with the efforts of individual women at work. Studies have shown that when identical CVs are sent out with male and female names attached, the male CVs receive more interest from employers and more favourable assessments. So these issues can’t be simply dismissed as the result of lack of interest by women. Instead, we need to look at the ways workforce structures and practices, developed to suit the historical male role of full-time breadwinner, might tend to exclude women and limit their opportunities.
Australia’s legislation requiring employers to provide equal opportunity programs for women at work (the Equal Employment for Women at Work Act 1986 has now been amended and renamed the Workplace Gender Equality Act. It now aims to ensure equality at work for both women and men, with a focus on sex discrimination and treatment of workers with caring responsibilities.
The act applies to the same employers as the previous law: all higher education institutions and non-government employers of more than 100 employees are covered. The exclusion of small businesses appears to be an acknowledgement that smaller organisations may not have the human resources capacity to comply with the requirements. Public employment is also excluded.
Some areas, such as Commonwealth authorities and some state government employment are covered by other laws that impose equal employment opportunity requirements, and the law assumes that governments will adopt their own measures on gender and other grounds such as disability.
Over its 26-year life, the Act has had limited impact on gender inequality at work.
The new requirements apply to employers for the next reporting period ending in March 2014. Employers will no longer have to prepare an equal employment opportunity program to lodge with the renamed Workplace Gender Equality Agency set up by the Act. Instead, they will be required to report on “gender equality indicators”. These will include:
◦The gender composition of the workforce, and of any governing body such as a council or board of directors.
◦Equal remuneration between women and men in their workforce.
◦Availability and usefulness of employment terms, conditions and practices relating to flexible work, or supporting employees with family or caring responsibilities.
A new level of publicity will also be added. Most of the data reported to the Agency will be publicly available, and employers will be required to notify employees and shareholders of their reports and allow them an opportunity to comment. As a result, the Act will now require the production of data on employers’ performance that is widely disseminated and publicly available. This approach accords with the modern management maxim “what gets measured gets done”, and that transparency improves accountability, ensuring that actions are taken.
Minimum standards will be defined over time by the minister responsible via regulation from 2013. These are intended to be industry-specific, and failure to comply with minimum standards will be a breach of the Act. The Agency will be required to report to the minister every two years on progress towards equal opportunity for women at work.
Will it work?
Will it make a difference? It is clear that deep cultural change will be needed to move away from stereotypical expectations about the incompatibility of femininity and leadership; women’s inherent responsibility for childcare; and the “normal” worker being a full-time worker free of caring responsibilities according to the historical male model. In individual organisations, change occurs when it is championed with commitment from the top.
Law is limited in the extent to which it can force organisations to change their ways. It is not an automatic or complete solution. But the new approach has substantial potential to increase the accountability of organisations and encourage change in the necessary direction.
It will begin to build a record of data about gender equity in individual organisations and the workforce generally that is not otherwise available. Individual women will even be able to check the gender equity record of organisations they might be seeking work with.
The Act seeks to balance the need for change with the interests of employers in manageable requirements. Time will tell whether this balance has been effectively struck or needs further adjustment.
GENDER DISCRIMINATION (Reading)
What is meant by « The elephant in the room »?
An obvious truth that is either being ignored or going unaddressed. An obvious problem or risk no one wants to discuss.
What is the purpose of the amended Equal Employment for Women at Work Act 1986?
It aims to ensure equality at work for both women and men, with a focus on sex discrimination and treatment of workers with caring responsibilities.
What will help the act make a difference?
Deep cultural change will be needed to move away from stereotypical expectations about the incompatibility of femininity and leadership
Write a Letter
You feel that you have been treated differently to your male or female counterpart, on the part of your supervisor. Write a letter to HR explaining the unfair situation and asking for advice on steps to follow.
Write an Essay
Imagine that you have the possibility of staying abroad of your own choice for a period of 2 weeks. Which foreign state would you prefer traveling to? To justify your option, offer precise motivations and details.
IELTS Speaking Part 1: Introductions and Interview (4 to 5 minutes)
- What things can either men or women do that the other cannot do and why?
- Do you think it is expensive to live alone nowadays?
- Are there lots of campaigns against domestic violence in your country?
- In your home, who does the cooking, cleaning and household chores?
IELTS Speaking Part 2: One-minute long turn each (2 minutes: 1 minute each)
Candidate Task Card
Describe the last job interview you went to.
You should say:
– what job you are applying for
– what kind of service or product the company provided
– how you feel the interview went
and explain what made you apply for that position.
You will have to talk about this topic for 1 to 2 minutes.
You have 1 minute to think before, about what you are going to say.
You can also make some notes while you prepare.
Rounding off questions:
- Do you feel this job attracted more male or female applicants?
- Could you name others jobs which tend to be more masculine or feminine?
IELTS Speaking Part 3: 4 to 5 minutes (More in-depth 2-way discussion):
- Can you think of any sports or activities which are considered more masculine or feminine? Do women and men take part in the same type of sporting activities?
- In your opinion, in the name of what do you think many organisations promote anti discrimination policies to obtain decent and productive work environments?
- What jobs are deemed as appropriate for men but inappropriate for women?
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