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Creating conversations to reduce gender-based discrimination with Victorian Equal Opportunity and Human Rights Commission (VEOHRC)

  • Interaction Design
  • Research
  • Co-design

How do we encourage productive conversations around gender-based discrimination in our workplaces?

39% of women have been sexually harassed in the workplace in the last five years. Women experience a pay gap of 12.2% in full-time work (Victorian Health Promotion Foundation, VicHealth indicators survey 2015 selected findings).

Employers and employees often have a low level of understanding about their rights or responsibilities in regards to workplace gender equality, leading to workplaces that practice gender-based discrimination routinely and unwittingly.

Our task was to design a program to help employers and employees engage and improve their practices.

Design research exploring emerging technology

We ran a co-design workshop to explore possible tools and methods to encourage conversation in the workplace—everything from virtual reality to online questionnaires to physical toolkits for managers. 

Co-design activity

Co-design workshop

We facilitated a co-design workshop with the VEOHRC team and eight participating workplaces to generate ideas on how we could spark the right conversations.

As an input to the workshop, we briefed participants on global, best practices and data on the specific challenges in our context. For example, our workplaces have a low level of awareness about pregnancy discrimination in particular, and sexual harassment rates are much higher within casual workforces.

Through a series of activities, participants generated and built upon many different concepts

Concept to prototype

We developed prototype conversation kits that would be approachable and engaging for employees and employers.

We worked with VEOHRC and participating workplaces to develop a series of digital and hardcopy concepts.

Raise It! email newsletter and poster

RaiseIt! toolkit

We took the concepts and developed a prototype conversation toolkit, which we called RaiseIt!

Our tools support five important conversations:

  1. Flexible work: what’s holding you back?
  2. Taking and returning from parental leave: tips for parents
  3. Pregnancy discrimination: does that really happen?
  4. What you can do if you witness sexual harassment
  5. Sexual harassment: it doesn’t just happen in Hollywood. Know your rights and responsibilities

We designed a brand mark and visual style, then created the toolkits, delivered through a mix of digital and paper-based materials.

The material includes a RaiseIt! website, planning kits, email newsletters and even an experimental chatbot.

RaiseIt! is currently being evaluated with eight pilot organisations, after which VEOHRC will look to scale this program to all workplaces across Victoria.

Cards and chat bot

The toolkit included a deck of 25 cards that prompted conversations about discrimination and equality in the workplace. We also built out a series of interactive chatbots that walk people through the steps they need to take to bring up challenging topics in the workplace.


RaiseIt! Creates the conversations to build workplace environments where employees and employers have open, safe and productive discussions related to gender equality.

Increasing people’s confidence in discussing these matters in the workplace setting means fairer outcomes for employees regardless of their gender.