To mark International Women’s Day, the Global Compact Network Australia, S&P Dow Jones Indices and International Finance Corporation rang the ASX opening bell for gender equality, joining 33 other stock exchanges around the world in doing so.
GCNA Executive Manager, Alice Cope opened the event, and attendees then heard from a fantastic line up of women business leaders: Ann Sherry AO, Executive Chairman, Carnival Australia, Alison Watkins, Group Managing Director, Coca-Cola Amatil, Yolanda Beattie, Principal and Practice Leader – Diversity and Inclusion, Mercer, and Lisa Green, Group Executive Human Resources of the ASX.
Gender equality is a fundamental right. And yet, while we’ve made progress in many areas, women and girls around the world do not fully enjoy equal rights, and their potential as economic, social and sustainable development change-agents remains untapped.
Women are under-represented in power and decision-making roles – fewer than 10% of the ASX 200 have women CEOs. Women represent 21.9% of ASX200 boards, and 24 such boards include no women at all.
Women receive unequal pay for equal work – in Australia, the gender pay gap has been stubborn. A recent Workplace Gender Equality Agency report tells us that the gap currently sits at 18%, with top tier female managers earning $100,000 less per year than men.
Domestic violence, which is both a cause and consequence of gender inequality, has devastating impacts on (primarily) women, their families, and the community.
Business is in a unique position to drive gender equality from the boardroom to the value chain, and in the broader community. And the business and economic case for action is strong.
The Women’s Empowerment Principles – a joint initiative of the UN Global Compact and UN Women – make the case for and elaborate suggested business actions for empowering women in the workplace marketplace and community. We encourage you to have a look at the WEPs, and consider signing up to the WEPs CEO Statement of Support.
To further inspire business action, two of the GCNA’s companies – Rio Tinto and Intrepid Travel – share some of the things they’re doing to support gender equality. One of our university members, RMIT University, also shares some recent research on the potential of workplaces in tackling domestic violence.