Whatever happened to gender equality?

Bettina Arndt

Aug 9

Have our governments lost the plot? Last month we learned that the ACT government is requiring successful tenders for the build of a new school to have a 100 per cent female management team on site. We’re talking about the construction industry, where women represent only 12 per cent of the workforce. Yet Canberra building companies are now expected to come up with an all-female bunch of bosses to run building sites for the government contracts that keep the big firms in business.

Of course, that is the socialist republic of the Australian Capital Territory, which is utterly dominated by feminist bureaucrats. But lest you feel such ideological excesses must be confined to the mean girls who run Canberra with their soy boy colleagues, it’s time for a deep dive into our Federal public service where successive governments have been overwhelmed by a tsunami of women over the last thirty years.

It all started with Whitlam, naturally, who proudly introduced positive discrimination to ensure more women were recruited into the then male-dominated Australian Public Service (APS). Suddenly public service job descriptions required a “demonstrated commitment to feminism.” Hester Eisenstein, an American who joined their ranks at the time, wrote gleefully about the “spectacle of very traditional-looking male bureaucrats, in pin-striped suits and conservative ties, reading over the credentials of women candidates and discussing seriously their respective claims to authentic feminist commitment.”

The old boys rolled over and ushered in a new feminist era, so that by 2001 half of all federal public servants were women. From then on women have absolutely taken over most government departments. Look at these amazing numbers in key areas.

As this complete list shows, 31 of the 96 government agencies have 70% or more females.  It’s been an extraordinary empire building exercise, with almost all the big departments and most smaller agencies now majority female, many by large margins. These are the people writing government policy for our country, deciding how to spend our money, determining what matters and what doesn’t. Hardly surprising then that women’s business is always on the agenda, with “Ministers for Women” in both Commonwealth and State governments, while men’s issues are ignored.

Hop on board the gender juggernaut 

We can plot the relentless female takeover as it gathered steam over the past thirty years, despite variations in politicians’ enthusiasm for matriarchal government. Howard made valiant efforts to stem the tide, taking his lead from the Fourth World Conference on Women which called for “mainstreaming” – making women’s policy everyone’s business. This allowed the Howard administration to do away with the feminist enclaves in the APS. They announced in 2007 that women had made great progress in the APS – by then 57% female – and would no longer be considered a disadvantaged group.

Unsurprisingly, it was Turnbull who really doubled down, ensuring women’s long march through these government institutions kept rolling on. As just one example, his government’s strategy aimed for more women on public service boards. Within just five years, most members of APS boards were women. The Department of Social Service has 6 boards, 69% female, and women occupying all the chair and deputy chair positions. All key decisions are firmly in female hands.

Similarly, women are being relentlessly recruited to take the places of men throughout the public service, and they now have the majority of both executive and senior executive positions. Look at this graph showing recruitment into the various levels (bands) of employment.

More women than men are being recruited at almost every level, including executives, with women receiving a disproportionate share of promotions as well. No surprise that they now have most of the plum jobs – with men now a minority at executive and senior executive (SES) levels. The very senior rank, SES 3, still comprises 73% men but this imperiled species of top dog must be feeling the female hoards snapping at their heels.

Getting rid of them will give another small nudge to the declining APS gender pay gap, which in 2020 was sitting at 6.6%, down from 7.3% in 2019 and 8.6% in 2016. Funnily enough the small numbers in the top ranks mean that more female bosses won’t solve the pay gap “problem” which is largely due to the recruiting of so many more women into the lower pay roles, already dominated by females. About a third of the APS is in the APS  1 – 4 classifications and only a third of them are men.

Whatever happened to gender parity?   

So how do the bureaucrats explain away the embarrassing lack of gender diversity in our national public service?

Basically, they just pretend it’s not happening. One rare exception was in 2018 when Deputy Public Service Commissioner, Jenet Connell, admitted that the 60% female APS resulted from “such a positive bias towards women” that young men were complaining of feeling disadvantaged. She mentioned the famous APS study on blind recruiting which found when they removed references to gender on job applications, far more men got through the blind process – proof of the APS’s strong bias against men.

But instead of proposing blind recruiting should become the norm, the Commissioner simply stated the result was “interesting and we are having a look at that.” Ho hum. Sounds remarkably similar to the female education bureaucrat who joked to me about their reaction to boys continuing to fall behind girls was to “wait 2000 years and analyse the results very, very carefully.”

Since then, the gender disparity issue has been successfully ignored in most official documents apart from a mention in the Gender Equity Strategy 2021-26 which acknowledges women’s majority position and some barriers facing men working in female-dominated roles but then neatly swivels to suggest “a range of actions are required to benefit representation of all gender identities and the importance of promoting gender inclusivity.”

Isn’t that dandy? Let’s ignore the unfair treatment of men and focus instead on trying to find a few gender-fluid folk to add to the mix.

It does your head in to read the weasel words pouring out from this mob as they celebrate gender diversity whilst steadily eliminating anyone cursed with dangly bits between their legs. Like weeds given a dose of Roundup, male public servants are being systematically eliminated.

The results are there for all to see

It’s actually far from a joke. Maybe it wouldn’t matter if these female public servants simply did their jobs rather than using their positions to promote injustice towards men and boys. But every day we see examples of biased policies tilted to favour women at the expense of men.

  • Like the Fair Work Commission, now 68% female, which supported domestic violence leave, a handout which employers find impossible to challenge.
  • The Federal Court Statutory Authority, 75% female, which runs the family law system so notoriously unfair to men.
  • The Australian Human Rights Commission, 78% female, which allows organisations to exclude men, and rarely gives a hearing to cases involving discrimination against men. How is the ACT’s 100% female managers in construction tenders not discrimination against men?
  • The Productivity Commission, 59% female, which is shifting from its traditional economic focus to tinker with social policy issues.
  • The Health Department, 70% female, which allocated $2.1 billion to services for women and girls and just $1 million to improve health outcomes for men and boys.


As my opening sentences about the bullying of the Canberra construction industry make clear, femocrats are no longer content to use their numbers to distort government policies. They are pushing their ideology into the wider world, forcing everyone else to comply with gender dictates. All organisations with more than 100 employers are blocked from government contracts if they fail to please the government’s key enforcer, the Workplace Equality Gender Agency (79% female), by ticking the right boxes.

That wider world isn’t confined to Australia. Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) (59% female) puts “gender equality and women’s empowerment as a priority in Australia’s foreign policy, economic diplomacy and development program”. Since 2014, policy requires “eighty per cent of all Australia’s foreign aid, regardless of objectives, perform effectively in promoting gender equality”. In total, Australia’s gender equality-focused aid was A$1.5 billion in 2022/23.

Some examples of our foreign aid:

  • Improving agricultural productivity and income – but only for women.
  • Prioritising school retention and quality – excluding boys.
  • Teaching business and vocational skills – but only to women.
  • Working to end violence – but ignoring male victims.

The National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC), (70% female) have women-only awards but also “structural priority funding”  which means grant money is divided into two pools. One pool is awarded based on merit; the other pool is awarded to women whose proposal was not good enough to make the cut.

No doubt this will hasten the end of the last bastions of predominantly male expertise in the STEM world, with the help of woke Vice-Chancellors running so many of our universities. The ANU’s vice-chancellor, Brian Schmidt is leading the pack – last week announcing that they are offering 10 new positions exclusively for “women and women-identifying individuals.”

And having spent a decade as CEO of the ABC promoting the ideological thuggery of Louise Milligan and her feminist mates, Mark Scott is now making his mark as the new Vice Chancellor at the University of Sydney by last week announcing five new executives to add to his team. They are all women.

Liz Truss, who is battling to become the next British Conservative Party leader, has pledged to slash 350 woke jobs from the civil service, claiming such jobs “distract from delivering on the British people’s priorities.” Commenting on this move in The Australian last week, Claire Lehmann argued these highly paid people entrench unfairness, promoting “a make-work program by the woke for the woke.” She failed to mention these ideologues have already achieved one of their main goals, stacking the numbers so our entire public service is set up  favouring only half the population.