Australia has a sexual harassment problem. The Australian Human Rights Commission's 2018 national survey found that almost three-quarters of Australians had experienced sexual harassment in their lifetime - in any given year, one in five women will be sexually harassed in their workplace. The impact on human rights, dignity and workplace productivity is severe. The #MeToo movement and the recent reporting of sexual harassment findings against former High Court judge Dyson Heydon have underscored the immense challenges facing Australians in effectively addressing harassment.
In March, Australia's Sex Discrimination Commissioner Kate Jenkins released a groundbreaking report, Respect@Work, following the National Inquiry into Sexual Harassment in Australian Workplaces. The National Inquiry highlighted the endemic and pervasive nature of sexual harassment in Australian workplaces. Jenkins found that the 'current legal and regulatory system is simply no longer fit for purpose' and outlined 55 recommendations to create a new regulatory framework to sexual harassment.
One profession that has sought in recent years to address the prevalence of workplace harassment has been the law. In 2019, the International Bar Association (IBA) published Us Too? Bullying and Sexual Harassment in the Legal Profession, based on a global survey of almost 7,000 lawyers. IBA Senior Legal Advisor and ANU College of Law Visiting Fellow Kieran Pender, the author of Us Too?, subsequently led a global engagement campaign with hundreds of events and thousands of stakeholder engagements in 30 cities across six continents.
Join us for a conversation between Kieran and Kate on how Australia and Australians can effectively address this scourge in our workplaces. The pair will discuss the Respect@Work recommendations, insight from their respective stakeholder consultation campaigns and practical steps organisations can take to promote positive change.
Dean of the ANU College of Law and Pro Vice Chancellor for International Strategy Professor Sally Wheeler OBE, MRIA, FAcSS, FAAL will introduce the webinar. Australia's leading anti-discrimination law researcher, Emerita Professor Margaret Thornton FASSA, FAAL, will offer some opening remarks to provide context for the conversation. Kate and Kieran will then discuss their work, followed by a Q&A with the audience.