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A response to the consultation paper for

Digital Economy Future Directions
Section C3
Developing Australia's Knowledge and Skills Base
by researching and implementing gender equity policies.

ARIN 6902 : Tuesday 7-9pm : Andra Keay
Page 2 of 15 : Submission to DEFD Section C3 : ARIN6902 : Tuesday 7-9pm : Andra Keay

A response to the consultation paper for

Digital Economy Future Directions

Section C3 : Developing Australia's Knowledge and Skills Base

by researching and implementing gender equity policies.

Table of Contents: p2

Executive Summary: p3

Productivity and Innovation: p4

Why Turn to Women? p6

Framework for Recommendations: p7

Recommendations for Government: p8

Recommendations for Business: p9

Recommendations for Education: p 10

Recommendations for Media: p 11

Conclusion: p 12

References: p 13

Annexes:

'Executive Summary of the Augustine Report' US 2005

'43 Recommendations for a Fairer Future' UK 2007

'Diversity – The Competitive Edge' Canada 2007

'Engendering ICT Toolkit Policy Framework' The World Bank
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Executive Summary:

Australia must increase its technologically skilled workforce and promote in-
novation. Countries in the G20 who fail to improve their productivity will
face reduced living standards in the global competition of the 21st century.
As the OECD notes, high income countries rely increasingly on their innova-
tive capability rather than their production or resources, and Australia has
been weakened by the recent financial crisis and the competition from
emerging economies in the global marketplace. 1 2

The internet and related ICTs drive productivity and economic growth in the
information economy. In the recent DEFD Consultation Paper, the Australian
Government expresses its commitment to improving participation in the digi-
tal economy, developing digital and media literacy skills for the whole popu-
lation, boosting e-business, increasing the supply of skilled ICT workers, and
calls for feedback from stakeholders.3

Women comprise 51% of the population, 55% of tertiary graduates and yet
represent well under 20% of the ICT workforce and less than 10% of the

1
OECD, Innovation and Growth: Chasing a Moving Frontier 2009. (available at:
http://www.oecd.org/document/35/0,3343,en_2649_37417_44268835_1_1_1_1,00.html)
2
OECD. OECD Annual Report 2009 (available at:
http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/38/39/43125523.pdf)
3
Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Digital Economy Future
Directions Consultation Paper (December 2008) Section C3 (available at:
http://www.dbcde.gov.au/digital_economy/future_directions_of_the_digital_economy/australias
_digital_economy_future_directions/final_report/australias_digital_economy)
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management in business leadership and innovation in Australia. I propose a
number of strategies that could improve the participation of women in ICT
and innovation in Australia. All my recommendations are based on global re-
search and case studies, enhanced by my personal knowledge of the Austra-
lian situation. 4

Simply increasing women’s access to technology is not enough, as it
continues to position women as consumers, rather than producers, of the in-
ternet economy. Technology is not gender neutral but exists in a social set-
ting. The rapid growth of the internet is disruptive and is contributing to the
general increase in gender gap. This digital divide not only cripples women’s
chances of improving their situation but at the same time cripples Australia’s
chances of building human capacity to compete globally in the current digi-
tal economy.

Productivity and Innovation:

In the last 10 years, Australia has slipped from 5th to 15th in the World Eco-
nomic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Index. Since 2003-04, our productiv-
ity has actually declined. In step with the Augustine Report from the USA
(2005)5 and the Sainsbury Report from the UK (2007)6, the Australian Gov-
ernment has undertaken some major initiatives to change our declining
global position.

4
EOWA Gender Workplace Statistics at a Glance 2009 (available at:
http://www.eowa.gov.au/Information_Centres/Resource_Centre/EOWA_Publications/Gender_st
ats_at_a_glance.pdf)
5
Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy Rising Above the Gathering Storm:
Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future (2007) (available at:
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309100399)
6
Lord Sainsbury of Turville The Race to the Top (October 2007) (available at:
http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/corporate/migratedD/ec_group/20-08-SC_b)
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“The Government took office on 3 December 2007 keenly aware of two things.
First, that innovation is critical to lifting per capita and community living stan-
dards. And second, that urgent action was needed to boost Australia!s innovation
capacity and performance.” (Powering Ideas, 2009)

Since 2007, the Australian Government has increased the science and inno-
vation budget by over 25%, reaching $8.58 billion in the 2009-10 Budget.
This direct investment in innovation is supported by investments in infrastruc-
ture including the National Broadband Network and the Education Revolu-
tion. The context is described in the reports NIS Innovation 2008, Powering
Ideas 2009 and Digital Economy Future Directions 2009.

To increase the participation of women in ICTs and innovation, I have made
recommendations covering policy, education, media, business and board
representation. Both government and industry must change their strategies,
“recognising that this is a process which touches all aspects of our economy
and society.” 7As the OECD has noted:

"ICT policies are now becoming less sector-specific and more a part of the main-
stream economic policies that concern the economy and society as a
whole[...].OECD countries with long-term strategies for information societies typi-
cally emphasise the role of ICTs and the internet as key enablers of wider socie-
tal change.! (OECD Information Technology Outlook 2008)

7
DBCDE, Digital Economy Future Directions Consultation Paper (December 2008) Section C3
http://www.dbcde.gov.au/digital_economy/future_directions_of_the_digital_economy/digital_ec
onomy_consultation_paper (retrieved at March 10 2010)
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Why turn to women?

Historically, when the supply of skilled migrants is insufficient to meet Aus-
tralia’s needs, women have been mobilised into non-traditional industry and
technology roles. However beyond pragmatic economics, it is also the right
thing to do. Our international human rights obligations are enforced in the
Sex Discrimination Act of 1984, and the Equal Opportunity for Women in the
Workplace Act of 1999.There is no inherent reason that gender should pre-
vent participation in the production of the technologies of the future, al-
though it is well recognised that in ‘Western’ societies the number of women
involved in IT, ICTs and STEM is declining. This is despite the overall number
of women in higher education, including math and the life sciences, increas-
ing. This pattern is not global however, with exceptions in countries like Ma-
laysia, Philippines, Israel, Iran, Hungary and Norway.8

"Malaysia represents a different case. There are large numbers of women in
computer science, and computer science is not perceived as “masculine.”
Rather, it is deemed as providing suitable jobs and good careers for women.
This reflects an understanding of gender where femininities are constructed by
association to office work, commonly recognized as a woman-friendly space
because it is seen as more safe and protected than, for example, construction
sites and factories.! (A Cyberfeminist Utopia? Lageson 2008)

8
World Bank Engendering ICT Toolkit Policy Framework retrieved at April 10 2010 from
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTGENDER/EXTICTTOOLKIT/0,
,contentMDK:20271920~menuPK:562594~pagePK:64168445~piPK:64168309~theSitePK:5428
20,00.html
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Australia ranks first in the world for women’s education but is receiving a
very poor return on investment. While more than 50% of university graduates
in Australia are women, fewer than 15% of the executives of the nation’s ma-
jor companies are women. In 2009, only 8.7% of ASX 200 board members
were women and 53% of companies had no female directors. The Office for
Women has just concluded a review into the effectiveness of the Equal Op-
portunity for Women in the Workplace Act 1999.

"Let!s be clear – this isn!t just a problem, it!s a national outrage,! says Elizabeth
Broderick, Australia!s Federal Sex Discrimination Commissioner. "Without significant
intervention – by government, by business – the number of women progressing in the
workplace may shrink even further. (Diversity on Boards Conference Australia 2009)

Much research has been done over last 25 years in USA, Canada, Europe,
UK, SE Asia and Australia, however the reasons for the declining participa-
tion of women in IT remain hard to define and solutions tend to be short term
and local. If ICT issues are becoming more aligned with mainstream eco-
nomic issues, then it is relevant that the global Gender Equity Gap is not de-
creasing. The changing nature of work in the information economy appears
to contribute to the gender pay gap worsening in some areas just as fast as it
improves in others. 9 10 11 12

9
OECD Social Watch Gender Equity Index 2009 http://genderindex.org/
10
UK Office for National Statistics Labour Market Gender Pay Gap 2009
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=167
11
EOWA Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agencay Australian Government
Research and Resources 2010 http://www.eowa.gov.au/Research_And_Resources.asp
12
AIM Australian Institute of Management Retaining Women in the Workforce 2009
http://aim.com.au/research/retwomen.html
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Framework for Recommendations:

The UK Women and Work Commission have produced 43 recommendations
for ‘Shaping a Fairer Future’. The ITF (International Taskforce on Women and
ICTs) was created in the lead up to the World Summit on Information Systems
2005 and has produced the Engendering ICT Toolkit with comprehensive
policy suggestions to help meet the WSIS Action Line: C4 Capacity Building.
Working in partnership with business and governments, the ITF’s goal is to
bring about ‘a major break-through in regard to women’s participation in the
knowledge based economy’.

Companies like IBM and CISCO are well on the way to achieving diversity
targets, as are countries like Norway, New Zealand and Malaysia, due to
leadership and proactive policies. But as extensive research suggests, there
are many reasons and critical decision points preventing girls and women
from having careers in IT and ICT, research or leadership.

Not only do women come in all shapes and sizes requiring a heterogenous
array of solutions, but men in a wide range of positions need to have tools
and incentives to address the gender gap. As well as the suggestions from US,
UK, Canada and ITF (annexed), I have included a uniquely Australian per-
spective with a range of suggestions covering all ages and areas.

For Government:
• Participation in the ITF and other global gender and technology forums.
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• Address the gender gap specifically in every report and publication.
• Maintain the independent status and increase the visibility of the Office for
the Status of Women and the EOWA.
• Require a quota of female participation and representation in the Govern-
ment and in all businesses dealing with the Government.
• Create a central resourcing agency, collecting best practises globally and
locally, providing expertise in introducing successful diversity policies, col-
lecting data to support policy development and global reporting require-
ments and providing a public portal to the range of initiatives that currently
exist in isolation, like AWISE, WIT, FITT, WITwomen, WIC, ACS-W, ACM-
W, RoboGals, GidGits, WebWomen, EWomen, et al.
• Endorse publicly the goal of achieving equal participation in technology
and innovation for women, for everyone’s benefit.

For Business:
• Require a quota of female participation and representation in all publicly
listed companies.
• Require the reporting of gender breakdown of boards and workforce par-
ticipation.
• Require flexible hours and teleworking as conditions for all employees in
IT and ICT.
• Promote a culture of positive discrimination for diversity.
• Provide or support creche facilities for all employees.
• Recognise that absences from employment (for family) in the mid career
years adversely affect women’s employment and promotion chances far
more than men’s and make allowances.
• Pay equally for equal work.
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• Promote more women out of the lower paid areas in IT and ICT.
• Provide recognised qualifications or a training path for employees, as in
the changing world of IT, many successful employees are self taught.
• Align job descriptions and advertisements to better recognise the range of
skills required rather than a focus on certifications and technical skills
likely to exclude women.

For Education:
• Create a resource kit for university department heads on successful strate-
gies for increasing and retaining women in science, technology and engi-
neering, particularly at critical career decision points.
• Create a resource kit for primary and high school principals on successful
strategies for attracting girls to technology areas and maintaining their in-
terest, particularly at critical subject decision points.
• Continue support of Robogals, RoboCup, First Lego League and other ‘gen-
der friendly’ engineering challenges for children.
• Promote a culture of positive discrimination for diversity.
• Require the reporting of gender breakdown in hiring tutors/lecturers/heads
of school.
• Require the reporting of gender breakdown in the citation of academic
work.
• Promote the history of women in technology and science in a context that
acknowledges the difficulties of their participation.
• Make reporting on the gender breakdown of research teams and the board
and management of relevant institutions a requirement of research grants.
• Create innovation incubators, incorporating creches, flexible hours and
teleworking to maintain the involvement of highly skilled women in the
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industry while they undertake the primary family raising responsibilities.
• Create an internationally regarded tertiary certification or training college,
actively recruiting a majority of female students, where technical help desk
skills, system administration, network and software assistance are taught,
such that graduates from the college set the gold standard for ‘fixing your
computer problems’ - a help desk Hamburger University. This provides
recognition for women in the lower rungs of the IT industry and reduces
the public perception of technology being a male domain.

For Media:
• Stereotypes and the absence of role models play a significant role in the
gendering of technology,
• Refer to guidelines and resources for positive portrayals of women in IT,
ICT, leadership and innovation.
• Report on the gender breakdown of stories and pictures about technology.
• Run a Rosie the Riveter style promotional campaign based on the brief
from the proposed Women in IT agency.

“There is growing evidence that providing equitable opportunities for under-
represented groups – such as women, visible minorities, aboriginal peoples
and the disabled – produces tangible benefits to corporations, although it does
require a long-term, integrated and strategic approach. Large public compa-
nies, governments and banks have tended to lead the way in implementing
strategies to leverage diversity. Benefits they have identified as a result include
recruitment and retention of highly qualified workers, better alignment with di-
verse global markets, increased creativity and productivity, and higher overall
corporate performance.” (Diversity: the Competitive Edge, ICTC 2007)
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In conclusion:

Australia has fallen behind the rest of the world in productivity and fails to
acknowledge the gender gap in areas other than access to technology. It is
imperative to address barriers to women’s participation in the IT, ICT, re-
search, management and leadership areas and to create strategies for change,
in submission to the Digital Economy Future Directions, specifically the areas
of infrastructure, innovation and capacity building.

The introduction of new technologies has a destabilizing effect on society, in
which some groups have benefited but others have not. It is worrying that in
the areas most likely to shape our future, 51% of the population (to say noth-
ing of other disadvantaged groups) is being systematically excluded. 13

13
Milton Mueller, "The New Cyber-Conservatism: Goldsmith/Wu and the Premature
Triumphalism of the Territorial Nation-State: A review of Goldsmith and Wu's 'Who Controls
the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World'" (June, 2006). Internet Governance Project. Paper
IGP06-003. Available at http://internetgovernance.org/pdf/MM-goldsmithWu.pdf
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How it works: xkcd.com/385

References:
OECD, Innovation and Growth: Chasing a Moving Frontier 2009. (available at:
http://www.oecd.org/document/35/0,3343,en_2649_37417_44268835_1_1_1_1,00.html)

OECD. OECD Annual Report 2009 (available at:
http://www.oecd.org/dataoecd/38/39/43125523.pdf)

Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Digital Economy Future
Directions Consultation Paper (December 2008) Section C3 (available at:
http://www.dbcde.gov.au/digital_economy/future_directions_of_the_digital_economy/australias
_digital_economy_future_directions/final_report/australias_digital_economy)

EOWA Gender Workplace Statistics at a Glance 2009 (available at:
http://www.eowa.gov.au/Information_Centres/Resource_Centre/EOWA_Publications/Gender_st
ats_at_a_glance.pdf)

Committee on Science, Engineering, and Public Policy Rising Above the Gathering Storm:
Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future (2007) (available at:
http://www.nap.edu/openbook.php?isbn=0309100399)

Lord Sainsbury of Turville The Race to the Top (October 2007) (available at:
http://www.bis.gov.uk/assets/biscore/corporate/migratedD/ec_group/20-08-SC_b)
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DBCDE, Digital Economy Future Directions Consultation Paper (December 2008) Section C3
http://www.dbcde.gov.au/digital_economy/future_directions_of_the_digital_economy/digital_ec
onomy_consultation_paper (retrieved at March 10 2010)

World Bank Engendering ICT Toolkit Policy Framework retrieved at April 10 2010 from
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTGENDER/EXTICTTOOLKIT/0,
,contentMDK:20271920~menuPK:562594~pagePK:64168445~piPK:64168309~theSitePK:5428
20,00.html

OECD Social Watch Gender Equity Index 2009 http://genderindex.org/

UK Office for National Statistics Labour Market Gender Pay Gap 2009
http://www.statistics.gov.uk/cci/nugget.asp?id=167

EOWA Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency Australian Government
Research and Resources 2010 http://www.eowa.gov.au/Research_And_Resources.asp
AIM Australian Institute of Management Retaining Women in the Workforce 2009
http://aim.com.au/research/retwomen.html

ITIC Information and Communications Technology Council Canada Diversity – the Competitive
Edge 2007 Available at: http://www.ictc-ctic.ca/en/content.aspx?id=1922

Milton Mueller, "The New Cyber-Conservatism: Goldsmith/Wu and the Premature
Triumphalism of the Territorial Nation-State: A review of Goldsmith and Wu's 'Who Controls
the Internet? Illusions of a Borderless World'" (June, 2006). Internet Governance Project. Paper
IGP06-003. Available at http://internetgovernance.org/pdf/MM-goldsmithWu.pdf
Lagesen, Vivian A. “A Cyberfeminist Utopia? Perceptions of Gender and Computer Science
among Malaysian Women Computer Science Students and Faculty” Science, Technology and
Human Values 2007 Sage Publications. Avaliable at: http://sth.sagepub.com

Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissioner and Commissioner responsible for Age
Discrimination, Australian Human Rights Commission. Keynote Speech 2nd Diversity on Boards
Conference September 2009 Sydney Australia. Available at:
http://www.womenonboards.org.au/events/diversity2009/liz-broderick.htm

xkcd.com A WEBCOMIC OF ROMANCE, SARCASM, MATH AND LANGUAGE
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Links to Annexes:

Executive Summary of the Augustine Report, Rising Above The Gathering
Storm: Energizing and Employing America for a Brighter Economic Future
US House of Representatives 2005 (available at:
http://www7.nationalacademies.org/ocga/testimony/gathering_storm_energ
izing_and_employing_america2.asp)

Baroness Prosser of Battersea, Shaping a Fairer Future: A review of the
recommendations of the Women and Work Commission three years on. UK
2009 (available at:
http://www.equalities.gov.uk/what_we_do/women_and_work/women_and_
work_commission.aspx)

Introduction to Diversity – The Competitive Edge Canada 2007 (available
at: http://www.ictc-
ctic.ca/uploadedFiles/Labour_Market_Intelligence/View_All_Reports/13-
Diversity%20The%20Competitive%20Edge.pdf)

The World Bank Engendering ICT Toolkit Policy Framework Retrieved on
April 10, 2010 from
http://web.worldbank.org/WBSITE/EXTERNAL/TOPICS/EXTGENDER/EXTIC
TTOOLKIT/0,,contentMDK:20271920~menuPK:562594~pagePK:64168445
~piPK:64168309~theSitePK:542820,00.html