News National International Women’s Day: companies doing gender equality right

International Women’s Day: companies doing gender equality right

gender equality companies
These companies represent women above and beyond the average in Australia. Photo: Getty
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Companies are fighting back against gender inequality after recent measures to push the issue sparked outrage the day before International Women’s Day.

After the controversies surrounding the ABC’s decision to use only female presenters for Wednesday’s celebration and the Melbourne council changing pedestrian traffic lights to depict female figures, companies doing the right thing by gender equality have been overshadowed.

gender equality companies
Women in the workforce – click for details.

Both incidents were slammed by media and experts alike, labelling the decisions “patronising to women”, while the ABC’s choice was trashed by News Corp calling the move “tokenism” to “kick male presenters off air in the name of equality”.

However, organisations – including the ABC – are leading the way for closing the gap in gender inequality and the representation for women in the workforce, especially beauty manufacturer L’Oréal.

Figures provided to The New Daily show 74 per cent of L’Oréal Australia employees are female, with seven out of 11 executive committee members being women.

This includes roles not traditionally held by females including the Director of Operations, Chief Financial Officer, General Manager of IT and General Manager of the Luxury Division.

Since 2015, L’Oreal has worked diligently to develop female leaders, with leadership programs to help women candidates be ready to take on new roles.

It also founded the ongoing program For Women in Science in 1998 alongside UNESCO to promote and highlight the critical importance of ensuring greater participation of women in science.

As a leader within the global L’Oréal Group, I’m proud to see developments in the area of gender equality,” L’Oréal Australia HR director Amber Kristof told The New Daily.

gender equality companies
L’Oreal Australia’s majority female Executive Committee. Photo: Supplied

“Diversity across our business will continue to be our focus and we will keep working to develop new ways to ensure our company encourages gender equality.”

Elsewhere, the ABC is represented by 52.5 per cent and 47.3 per cent of women in the workplace and senior executive level respectively. 

Nutrition manufacturer Blackmores employs around 1000 people with more than 70 per cent of those being women. It has two women on its board, including CEO Christine Holgate.

“As a company that has always had a significant number of women in board and senior positions, we naturally embrace diversity,” a spokeswoman told The New Daily.

Meanwhile, at airline company Jetstar, women account for over 35 per cent of its executive team, although less than 40 per cent of its overall workforce are women.

“Having diversity in leadership is incredibly important … It’s crucial for our business to regularly reflect on opportunities to improve gender parity and remain deeply ambitious about how much we can achieve,” Jetstar Group CEO Jayne Hrdlicka told The New Daily.

Patronising calls ‘pathetic’

ABC’s decision to use only female presenters across all platforms on Wednesday has been attacked by some, but experts have called the attacks “pathetic”.

“I think that’s pretty pathetic quite frankly that people are rejecting women taking over for one day,” University of South Australia gender studies professor Alison Mackinnon told The New Daily.

“That sort of reaction is pathetic, women don’t have a huge role in the management of media, or indeed the management of many organisations.

“To acknowledge the work of women by broadcasting a panel of women is highly appropriate.

“I think there is still a very long way to go, but I think it’s good we are bringing attention to the topic with these sorts of acts for International Women’s Day.”

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