Gender inequality lies at the heart of women’s experiences in the workplace, from issues with sexual harassment or the pay gap. These companies are doing something about it.
The Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) has just announced a record number of Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citations to businesses that are walking the walk on gender equality.
The large number (120) suggests that Australian employers are increasingly recognising the benefits of gender equality to their business. They include universities and banks, legal and professional services firms, tech and food businesses and operate in sectors that are both male and female-dominated.
The WGEA has highlighted trends such as flexible working becoming the norm in many organisations, and parental leave programs tailored to suit individual needs. Interestingly, there is also a move towards greater support for men with caring responsibilities.
HRM takes a look at two of the EOCGE recipients and ask why they merited awards.
VMware Australia’s diversity and inclusion strategies are led by Alister Dias, VMware ANZ managing director and WGEA pay ambassador. VMware began by setting up a D&I council with more than 50 employees representing various aspects of the company and tasked with driving D&I initiatives from the ground up.
One of their biggest challenges was to establish equal pay for women across all roles: one that they say they have now achieved, after accounting for influencing factors such as geographical location, performance and tenure.
“Innovation is driven by bringing together different perspectives, experiences, backgrounds, beliefs and world views, in a place where people feel valued and supported in their difference and able to share their unique perspectives,” says Dias.
Konica Minolta Business Solutions Australia
Another winner of the citation is Konica Minolta Business Solutions (KMBS).
Dr David Cooke, chairman and managing director, says: “In an industry that has had entrenched gender bias in some roles, we’re working to improve the balance so we open up opportunities for all, and benefit from the diversity of thought and perspective that comes with having men and women more equally represented.”
Programs at the company include flexible work arrangements and a Family and Domestic Violence Support Program – which offers two weeks additional paid leave for employees experiencing domestic violence and a trained person in each branch as a go-to person that can refer victims to more help. They also have additional paid parental leave: primary carers are entitled to 12 weeks paid leave independent of any government benefits, while secondary carers are entitled to 10 days paid leave.
Like VMware, the business also set up a grassroots Diversity and Inclusion committee that tackles issues such as encouraging women to consider STEM roles, mentoring, and presenting in TAFE colleges.
Another commitment both companies have is pay parity. KMBS annually reviews its pay structure to ensure same pay for same work.
“At Konica Minolta, one of our key goals is to foster and maintain an organisational culture that is inclusive and fair so all people feel supported to be their whole selves at work. We will continue to champion gender equality throughout the business and draw on this experience to expand our diversity and inclusion initiatives,” says Cooke.
Discover new inclusion and diversity strategies from HR experts and business leaders, at the Inclusion and Diversity Conference in Sydney on Thursday 3 May. Early bird registration closes Thursday 5 April – register now and save.