As it stands we will not live to see gender parity in our lifetimes.
According to World Economic Forum predictions, we are 117 years (approximately 42,000 days) away from achieving global gender parity. International Women’s Day is the opportunity to #PledgeForParity and create a better future for women across the globe, but also the 2.25 million females currently living in New Zealand.
While over half of New Zealand’s population is female (51.09%), women make up only 17% of directors and just 19% of those in senior management positions, according to NZX Limited ‘Gender Diversity 4th Quarter 2015 and Annual Statistics. The research proves that gender diversity adds significantly to a business’ bottom line. Recent findings from EY and The Peterson Institute for International Economics reveals companies with at least 30% women in leadership can achieve up to a six percentage point increase in net margin. Gender parity is as much an economic imperative, as it is an equality one.
International Women’s Day is a celebration of the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women worldwide. For us at Global Women, every day is a celebration of women, but March 8 is a hallmark of the work that we do. It is a chance for us to elevate the diversity conversation, raise awareness of gender parity and take stock of where we are on the spectrum. This year we are working alongside our fantastic partners in the work they’re doing to drive the diversity movement.
Global Women partner organisation EY is the global sponsor of International Women’s Day this year and, true to theme, is demonstrating its commitment to achieving gender parity with a schedule of exciting events.
Here on home soil, EY’s Auckland office hosted a morning tea, in association with the New Zealand Diversity & Inclusion Council and Women in Advisory, at which they announced the launch of the Auckland NOWW women’s networking group. NOWW aims to encourage women to share experiences, develop support networks, provide exposure to mentoring opportunities and explore topics relating to women’s empowerment, inclusion and support. Uptake already looks positive, with an initial survey of female staff indicating that around 50 are interested in joining, most with the view to receiving mentoring from senior women in the organisation. Around 18 have already offered their support with ongoing organisation of the group and plans are underway to arrange quarterly face-to-face functions.
EY is also collecting clothing on behalf of Dress for Success, a global not-for-profit organisation that empowers women by providing support networks, professional attire and tools to help them thrive in their personal and professional lives. Staff have been donating clothing, shoes, jewellery and bags to help women attending job interviews or preparing for an upcoming role.
Fletcher Building is once again hosting its popular FaB Women Leaders’ Series to connect, challenge and inspire women within the business. Those attending the sessions are already in leadership positions, or are likely to assume executive roles in the near future. Women from all divisions and business units are attending the series, kicking off with a breakfast event, featuring a presentation from Global Women member Leanne Graham, in Melbourne on March 9. The series is an opportunity for current and up-and-coming female leaders to hear stories of personal and business leadership success.
PwC is sharing a number of inspirational stories with staff over the course of the week and has released an external report Modern mobility: Moving women with purpose. The report shares insights from 134 global mobility executives and almost 4,000 female and male professionals across 40 countries, and provides valuable insights to help organisations position themselves to create more gender-inclusive mobility.
As a global founding Corporate Champion of the HeForShe campaign, PwC is working closely with UN Women and the other NZ corporate sponsors to engage both women and men in the campaign for gender equality. PwC is encouraging all of its staff and partners to show their commitment, starting with taking the HeForShe pledge.
Westpac invited customers and friends of the bank to a Women of Influence Breakfast to celebrate International Women’s Day at Westpac on Takutai Square.
The morning event featured a panel discussion on the theme ‘2025: A woman’s world and how you get there.’ Westpac presented an inspirational panellist line-up including Dr Michelle Dickinson (Nano Girl) , Dr Renee Liang, Simon Power and facilitator Joanna Norris.
Genesis Energy is another of our partner organisations leading the movement towards gender parity.
Tracey Hickman, GM Generation, says, “The energy industry has a long way to go if it is to attract and retain diversity into its midst and leverage this diversity to take on the future challenges it faces.
“Imagine if it was 50% women at our top tables and what could be achieved. Many ask why it is not the priority target now given the gender balance in our society and that it makes good sense for our industry, for business and for competitive advantage,” she says.
Tracey actively supports the development of women at Genesis Energy. “It is one of the ways we can make our business better. Genesis Energy is also committed to providing leadership in driving greater gender diversity across our Industry sector.”
Tracey and Maureen Shaddick, General Counsel and Company Secretary are jointly leading Genesis Energy’s focus on women in the workplace. Together with Andrew Steele, GM Corporate Services, they have also ‘pledged for parity’ as part of International Women’s Day.
Join us and our partners by making the pledge, for yourself, but also for your sisters, mothers wives and daughters. Let’s not wait 117 years, let’s make a difference today.