Defence Force brass exclude men to attract more women
Meaningless titles describing jobs as "female" opportunities are being used by the Australian Defence Force in a bizarre ploy to recruit more women without breaching anti-discrimination laws.
Several job advertisements have appeared online targeting women, including a recent call-out to join the Royal Australian Navy titled "Marine Technician - Female Opportunity," which appeared to prevent men from applying.
The full time role is described as "maintenance and handyperson services" with an annual salary of up to $84,999.
It does not mention gender as a specific requirement, except for the job listing's title.
But the ADF has told The Daily Telegraph men are welcome to apply for any job specifically advertised as a "female opportunity," because the title does not actually mean it is limited to women.
But nowhere in the job description is this technicality made clear.
According to the federal Sex Discrimination Act it is unlawful to "publish or display an advertisement that indicates, or could reasonably be understood to indicate, an intention to discriminate on the grounds of sex".
A spokesman for the ADF said the female opportunity ads were not discriminatory because "all roles … are open for men and women".
The spokesman said the "tailored advertising" simply aimed to generate "higher levels of female applications in order to ensure the ADF has access to a deeper talent pool".
"Defence research indicates women are unaware of the majority of roles available to them within the ADF," he said.
Former president of the NSW anti-discrimination board Stepan Kerkyasharian said he could "understand" the ADF trying to boost its appeal to women, but this must be followed through in meaningful ways such as equal access to training and facilities.
The army has a target of 15 per cent women, while the navy and air force are seeking 25 per cent by 2023.
The strategy has raised the ire of South Australian state Labor MP Jayne Stinson, who questioned the reasoning behind one advertisement for a female in an administrative role. "Does the army need to point out what they consider 'women's work'?" she said.
Originally published as Defence Force brass exclude men to attract more women