News & Media

Eliminating everyday sexism: a matter for everyone

By: CFA News

Category: Health & Safety, People

  11.57 AM 25 October, 2017

Location: CFA HQ News, General

Views: 560

In 2017, CFA joined the Male Champions of Change with Frances Diver as CFA Champion and ACO Inclusion and Fairness Steve Smith Implementation Leader.

A report released yesterday by Male Champions of Change yesterday titled 'We Set the Tone: Eliminating Everyday Sexism', outlines what everyday sexism looks like, its impact on employees, career advancement and productivity, and actions that can be taken to address this harmful workplace dynamic.

The Male Champions of Change started with senior corporate leaders meeting with  the Sex Discrimination Commissioner Elizabeth Broderick in 2010 to explore the idea of a group of male leaders focused on increasing women’s representation in leadership.

Assistant Chief Officer Steve Smith asks everyone to take up the challenge to eliminate sexism at CFA.

“We’ve identified a lot of common themes at CFA which align with emergency Services across Australia.  Organisations are committing to calling out unprofessional behaviour and CFA leaders, staff and volunteers can all play a leadership role in stamping out inappropriate behaviour.”

Steve says there is no excuse or place for this behaviour in a modern fire service.

Today’s report outlines six common behaviours of everyday sexism including:

  •          Insults that masquerade as jokes
  •          Devaluing women’s views or voices
  •          Role stereotyping;
  •          Preoccupation with physical appearance over competence;
  •          Assumptions that caring caeers don’t mix; and
  •          Unwarranted gender labelling such as when women are diminished for being “too aggressive” or men because they “lack competitive edge”.

The call to eliminate everyday sexism in the workplace is echoed by the Chief Commissioner of Police, Graham Ashton who says the topic is often avoided.

“Most people don’t want to be accused, let alone guilty, of sexist behaviour while some often dismiss the subject as political correctness gone mad.”

Release of the report aligns with the launch of CFA’s pilot A Matter of Respect next week at Mortlake Fire Station.  The program outlines behaviours expected of all CFA leaders, staff and volunteers and will be rolled out further in 2018.

Further information on Male Champions of Change and the report We Set the Tone can be access via

Last Updated: 26 October 2017