A CEDA survey of the business community has found that more than 50 per cent of respondents, predominantly women, have been discriminated against on the basis of gender in the workplace.
The survey results, which form part of CEDA's latest research report Women in Leadership: Understanding the gender gap, being released today, also found that 93.2 per cent of respondents believe barriers to equality in the workplace exist.
CEDA Chief Executive Professor the Hon. Stephen Martin said the results show that despite many of us feeling we live in a progressive society, we still have a significant way to go to achieve equality in our workplaces and society more generally.
"CEDA has been examining this issue over the last three years, through forums that have been held around the country and this research, and what we have found is this issue is being paid a lot of lip service but achieving the levels of change needed is still a long way off," he said.
"Respondents to the survey were predominantly professionals in middle to senior management. It is astounding that in 2013 many are encountering barriers to equality in their workplaces.
"Reporting and voluntary targets have been good steps but there is no single solution to this problem and our research shows that unless business continues a concerted effort to unravel the causes to this imbalance, then we are never going to see the progress required."
He said the report includes a series of recommendations that include workplaces undertaking structured pay audits to identify potential pay gaps, mainstreaming workplace flexibility to help counter the association of flexible work with 'women's work' and businesses running education programs about the detrimental effects of unconscious bias.
"The report also looks at what has worked elsewhere, from onsite childcare to tackling the portrayal of women in the media such as the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media in the US," he said.
"This is not just a significant issue for women but for men as well - gender equality in our workplaces is good for business, good for our economy and good for our society, which is why it is vital that both men and women are engaged and committed to tackling this issue."