It’s International Women’s Day 2019 and the energy is palpable. It’s been a big couple of years for gender relations as more vocal and urgent movements such as #TimesUp have arisen to confront disadvantage that disproportionately affects women. It is increasingly being understood that embedding gender equality for lasting change requires a collective investment from both female and male advocates. Consider this year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) themes of ‘More Powerful Together’ and ‘Balance for Better’. They support the notion that women’s empowerment needn’t be at the detriment of men’s interests, and that both achieve more when working together.

 

It’s a sentiment we wholeheartedly embrace at Entity Solutions, and are immensely proud that our organisation has been ahead of the curve in our representation of women – beyond empty rhetoric, enforced diversity quotas, or any artificial inclusion of females in the workforce. You only have to look at how women are not remotely outweighed by men in our leadership team and how that parity cascades down throughout all levels of the organisation. Even in industries such as ours that have been traditionally dominated by men, there is an encouraging realisation that women’s corporate inclusivity and visibility is moving from a ‘nice to have’, to a bona fide business imperative.

 

However, in tandem to these attitudinal and institutional shifts, there is still an element of resistance in giving gender diversity the emphasis it deserves. Plenty of progress still needs to be made in removing roadblocks for women and giving them equal voice in the workplace (and beyond), with ongoing dialogue and continued education being the key to that end.

 

We hosted a morning tea to mark the occasion of IWD and asked the women and men at Entity Solutions what international Women’s Day, and gender equality more broadly, means to them. We believe it’s these conversations that reinforce common goals, neutralise gendered ‘battle lines’ and garner support for initiatives such as IWD as a unifying force in society.

 

Food for thought:

  • Women on the boards of ASX 200 listed companies has grown from 8.3% in 2009 to 26.2% in 2018
  • Australia ranks 48th in the world in terms of the representation of women in politics. This is down from 32nd place in 2006. On a global scale, only 23% of the world’s politicians are women.
  • 50% of men think women are well represented in companies where only 10% of senior leaders are women
  • In Australia, the gender pay gap is currently at its lowest in 20 years. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, it’s at 14.6 per cent – down from 15.3 per cent in 2017. However, on average, women must work an extra 62 days per year to earn the same money as their male counterparts.
  • A 2017 McKinsey & Company report found that companies in the top quartile for gender diversity on their executive teams were 21 percent more likely to experience above-average profitability.

 

 

Entity Solutions’ staff perspectives:

 

As my professional career has evolved, I’ve learnt that any success is the product of the people around you. Inadvertently yet inevitably, I have found the contribution to come from the women in the teams I have worked with. As the CEO of ES over the last 3 years, the contribution from the leadership team around me represents 80% women, and I deem myself very successful. It’s a statistic that is not lost on me. It’s reflective of a dedicated, merit-earned and inspiring group of people that stand tall every day – Neil Merola

 

I am always really proud to tell people that the percentage of women in Entity Solutions is the same across all levels of the organisation. I think it is a real credit to ES that female representation is the same from frontline staff all the way up to our leadership group – Larissa Farnan

 

For me, International Women’s Day is an affirmation of women’s strength, value and potential. It’s a potent reminder of past and ongoing inequality, and my commitment to champion women’s rights so they are embraced as human rights afforded to all. I’m proud of the progress we’ve made so far and there’s no going back now – Amanda De Amicis

 

When comparing the culture of Entity Solutions to my previous male-dominated workplaces, I have found an added vibrance which arises from women’s presence and contributions. The inclusive culture means a level playing field in which women and men are judged on equal terms without different standards, which is of benefit to all – Peter Fromont

 

I think that despite our advancement over the years, it is still powerful and important to acknowledge & celebrate IWD. Only one generation ago, women faced many limitations, both in their private and professional lives. Our success today is only as a result of the struggles of generations before us and we are extremely lucky to stand on the shoulders of women, who were prepared to challenge the status quo and pioneer change. Yet women all over the world still continue to suffer true sorrow, hardship, violence and entrenched inequality, with absolutely no resources, means, or even voice, to change their standing. So, on this day, I usually turn my mind to them and stand in solidarity, as there is much more progress we need to make – Anna Sullivan

 

In our Entity Solutions family, everyone, women and men, can grow, learn, fully live their lives and become strong leaders on an equal basis. It’s really fantastic to be part of this culture. Let’s make sure in 2019 and beyond that our women and men get the opportunity to make an IMPACT together! – Thomas LE GOFF

We’d like to give a massive shout out to the women who are smashing goals and expectations both in and out of the workplace, and proving that no gender plays second fiddle to the other. Furthermore, we’d like to praise the men supporting women in these endeavours, helping dismantle outdated thinking, bias and barriers that hold us all back.

 

So ladies and gentleman, what can we achieve together in 2019?