The Leadership - Sexism And Harassment At Work

The Leadership - Sexism And Harassment At Work

Lesson 1 of 2 in this unit

  • Secondary
  • Year 9 - 10
  • Humanities and Social Sciences
  • Business and Economics
  • Civics and Citizenship
  • Health and Physical Education
  • Health
  • Work Studies
  • Social
  • Equality
  • Leadership
  • Social Action
  • ...

Lesson summary

In this lesson, students will explore how sexism and sexual harassment shows up in the workplace, how it affects women and men and what is being done about it. Students will watch a case study from The Leadership that explores how women working in male-dominated workplaces and remote locations struggle with sexual harassment and how this impacts their careers and lives more broadly. They will explore how positive action can support women to overcome these challenges. 

It is highly recommended that this lesson is conducted after students have completed The Leadership: Viewing And Responding To The Film – English – Year 10. Please be mindful that this lesson handles difficult topics and may impact different students in different ways. Please ensure students have access to confidential support if they need it.

The Leadership is rated M for mature audiences and contains coarse language and themes of sexual harassment and abuse. Consider whether viewing this film or clips is appropriate for your students.

Learning intentions:

Students understand...

  • the laws governing sex discrimination and sexual harassment in Australian workplaces
  • the impacts of sex discrimination and sexual harassment on women in the workplace and the responsibilities of employers to protect their employees
  • the importance of listening to and allying with women.

Success criteria:

Students can...

  • listen sensitively to diverse viewpoints
  • conduct research and communicate their findings
  • communicate the importance of creating safe workplaces for women and how to do so
  • determine whether a workplace provides sufficient protection for its employees when it comes to sex discrimination and sexual harassment.

Lesson guides and printables

Lesson Plan
Student Worksheet
Teacher Content Info

Lesson details

Curriculum mapping

Australian Curriculum content descriptions: 

Years 9 & 10 Health and Physical Education:

  • Evaluate factors that shape identities and critically analyse how individuals impact the identities of others (ACPPS089)
  • Evaluate situations and propose appropriate emotional responses and then reflect on possible outcomes of different responses (ACPPS094)
  • Critique behaviours and contextual factors that influence health and wellbeing of diverse communities (ACPPS098)

Year 10 Work Studies:

  • Explain the range of skills and attributes necessary to work effectively in the 21st century (ACWSCL025)
  • Select and use appropriate protocols for communication in workplace contexts (ACWSCL026)
  • Examine the creative and problem-solving techniques used within workplaces to resolve the tensions arising in business and community projects (ACWSCL030)

Year 10 Economics and Business:

  • The ways businesses respond to changing economic conditions and improve productivity through organisational management and workforce management (ACHEK054)
  • Develop questions and hypotheses about an economic or business issue or event, and plan and conduct an investigation (ACHES055)
  • Gather relevant and reliable data and information from a range of digital, online and print sources (ACHES056)
  • Reflect on the intended and unintended consequences of economic and business decisions (ACHES061)

Syllabus outcomes: PDHPE5.1, PDHPE5.3, PDHPE5.11, PDHPE5.13, PDHPE5.16C5.2, C5.3, C5.4, C5.5, C5.7, C5.9

General capabilities: Literacy, Critical and Creative Thinking, Personal and Social Capability, Ethical Understanding

Cross-curriculum priority: Sustainability

Relevant parts of Years 9 & 10 Health and Physical Education achievement standards:
Students critically analyse contextual factors that influence identities, relationships, decisions and behaviours. They analyse the impact attitudes and beliefs about diversity have on community connection and wellbeing. They evaluate the outcomes of emotional responses to different situations. Students access, synthesise and apply health information from credible sources to propose and justify responses to health situations.

Relevant parts of Year 10 Work Studies achievement standards:
Students explain the relationship between changing circumstances, learning and 21st century work opportunities and identify the skills needed to manage changes. Students explain the benefits of different cultural perspectives in managing work and problem-solving. They identify possible tensions arising in work-related contexts and understand the approaches to resolve conflicts and tensions.

Relevant parts of Year 10 Economics and Business achievement standards:
Students evaluate the effect of organisational and workforce management on business performance. When researching, students develop questions and formulate hypotheses to frame an investigation of an economic or business issue or event. They gather and analyse reliable data and information from different sources to identify trends, explain relationships and make predictions. Students generate alternative responses to an issue, taking into account multiple perspectives. Students develop and present evidence-based conclusions and reasoned arguments incorporating different points of view. They use appropriate texts, subject-specific language, conventions and concepts. They analyse the intended and unintended effects of economic and business decisions and the potential consequences of alternative actions.

Resources required


This lesson is designed to build students’ competencies in the following skills:

  • Communication
  • Critical thinking
  • Empathy
  • Ethical understanding
  • Collaboration
  • Problem solving
  • Social skills

Additional info

About The Leadership:

The Leadership is a feature-length documentary film directed by Ili Baré and produced by Greer Simpkin for Bunya Productions.

The world is crying out for a new model of leadership, but what is it? One woman thinks she has the answer. Australian CEO and ‘dreamer’, Fabian Dattner, leads an international group of 76 female scientists on an Antarctic voyage designed to transform them into the sort of leaders they want to be. Her hope is that once these women are primed to lead in science, they will be able to make meaningful change around the world. But onboard, Dattner’s own leadership style and philosophy are both severely tested, as the women’s deeply personal stories of workplace harassment and more are revealed. Set against the planet’s last untouched wilderness, The Leadership delivers an altogether unexpected and original reflection on what it takes to be a good leader while unearthing the profoundly troubling systemic obstacles to women’s advancement in science and beyond.

The Leadership is distributed by Dark Matter and premiered at the Sydney Film Festival in 2020. We recommend you access the film via Clickview. It is also available online on Amazon, Foxtel Rental Store, iTunes, GooglePlay, YouTube Film, Microsoft Store, Xbox Entertainment, Fetch TV, Vimeo and DocPlay. Learn more about the film: 

About Homeward Bound:

Homeward Bound is a transformational leadership initiative for women with a background in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics, medicine), from around the world.
The program has four core development components, or ‘streams’: leadership, strategy, visibility and science. These are delivered during a 12-month program, with online content and collaborative learning (11 months), and face-to-face on the ground in Ushuaia, Argentina (pre-voyage), and also on-board ship voyaging to Antarctica. Additionally, a Wellbeing Team ensures a focus on psychological safety and wellbeing throughout the program.

The key components are woven together into an integrated program, delivered by an expert global faculty. The live program is also supported by recorded content from leading experts and influencers within their fields. The program comprises lectures, personal and leadership development tools, coaching sessions, visibility training and the opportunity to develop meaningful collaborations – in forums, in teams with a focus on areas of interest, and in small diverse cohorts.
Learn more about the program’s key components and expected outcomes. 

Imposter Syndrome:

Psychology Today defines imposter syndrome as when people “believe that they are undeserving of their achievements and the high esteem in which they are, in fact, generally held (source). They feel that they aren’t as competent or intelligent as others might think - and that soon enough, people will discover the truth about them. Those with imposter syndrome are often well accomplished; they may hold high office or have numerous academic degrees.” The American Psychological Association says that when people are different from their peers (due to race, gender, sexuality or other), they are more likely to experience imposter syndrome (source).

Content Warning:

This film and associated lessons contain sensitive material that may trigger some students or cause strong emotional responses of various kinds. Teachers are strongly advised to watch the full film prior to showing it in their class and consider carefully whether this content will be suitable in their context. Please ensure you monitor all students during, directly after and for several weeks after tackling this content. Refer to the Handling Sensitive Topics And Issues Factsheet for more information.

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