Merit may not exist!

The Australian National Committee for UN Women and Autopia today released a White Paper about ‘Merit’. National Committee Executive Director Julie McKay joined business leaders in a conversation about the need to dispel the myth of merit in our workplaces, and challenged an audience of more than 100 businesses to take steps to ensure that their recruitment and promotion processes take into consideration the inherent biases faced by women in our workplaces. The report finds that consistently, when one talks to men and women about why there are so few women in leadership roles in Australia, they will cite ‘merit’ as the reason. The Australian National Committee for UN Women and Autopia, like many other businesses in Australia and globally, refuse to believe that women have less merit than men. The report finds that the merit process is flawed. “We suggest those who view Australia as a functioning meritocracy are failing to understand the limits of our own conceptions of merit, which involve a range of biases that discriminate against women and other diverse groups in employment practices in Australian business. We hope to start a new conversation about our overly simplistic view of ‘merit’ and its impact on women’s access to leadership roles” said Julie McKay, Executive Director of the Australian National Committee for UN Women. The report calls for businesses to reassess how they measure and reward merit and design and deliver on targets that encourage diversity and flexibility in the workforce. The report calls on business leaders and managers at every level of every organisation in Australia to address unconcious bias in order to ensure another generation doesn’t slip by with insignificant change.