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Politician tells women to ignore sexual discrimination at work: Three ways to make sure your business doesn’t

Andrew Sadauskas /

A senior female politician has told women facing sexual discrimination in the workplace to ignore it and it will “just disappear”, we’ve highlighted three ways you can ensure your business doesn’t disregard discrimination.

South Australian Liberal Opposition Leader Isobel Redmond offered her advice on how to deal with sex discrimination in the workplace during a “Women in Leadership” function in Adelaide attended by 150 women.

At the Committee for Economic Development of Australia “Women in Leadership” event, 39-year-old Sophia MacRae told Redmond “there is some inequality there” in her role at the Norwood Council and through her work with a lobby group, the Bicycle Institute.

“What would be your advice for a younger woman dealing with that, when it’s not just the fact that your older colleagues have more experience, but you can sense that there is a little bit of discrimination involved as well?” she said.

Redmond said it was easiest to ignore the discrimination.

“I think it is easier a lot of the time to just try to ignore the discrimination and get on with being the best councillor you can be, or the best whatever it is, and ask intelligent questions and make gentle suggestions, and I think you’ll find the discrimination will just disappear.”

Redmond said, in her own experience, she had avoided legal remedies.

“I don’t think there’s any much point in confrontation,” she said.

“There were laws at that time about discrimination, but I took the view that I was going to come out the loser if I tried to use those laws against the behemoth of this organisation and someone in a very senior position. So I left and got another job.”

SmartCompany contacted Redmond for comment, but she did not respond prior to publication.

Helen Conway, Director of the Equal Opportunity for Women in the Workplace Agency told SmartCompany “it is important to address unacceptable behaviours in the workplace because of the ramifications on individuals and workplace productivity.”

“Sometimes people aren’t aware that their behaviour is not acceptable so it is important to point this out to them when the behaviour occurs. Pushing it under the carpet doesn’t help anyone in the long run.”

Wendy Simpson, chairman of women’s business organisation Springboard Australia, also told SmartCompany she did not agree with Redmond’s advice to keep silent.

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Andrew Sadauskas

Andrew Sadauskas is a former journalist at SmartCompany and a former editor of TechCompany.

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