Written by Aurizon Managing Director & CEO Lance Hockridge.
Each March around the time of International Women’s Day, the conversation on diversity and inclusion in companies like Aurizon and other Australian corporates reaches a very loud crescendo. This is a good thing.
We put the microscope to how we’ve tracked against diversity targets, what the latest research is revealing, and what new initiatives are being rolled out in Corporate Australia. It’s a great time to trade stories (and successes) and to share learnings.
There’s lot of fantastic work happening across Australian companies, individually and through networks such as the Male Champions of Change. Things that matter are changing – boosting superannuation for unpaid leave; specific leadership & mentoring programs; and, parent peer support groups, just to name a few.
And advocacy groups like UN Women Australia are also galvanising our efforts under the leadership of Julie McKay, along with diversity champions such as former Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Liz Broderick and her newly-appointed successor, Kate Jenkins
After all, achieving a diverse workforce will require true leadership and sustained effort. We need bold interventions and many courageous discussions in workplaces. In Aurizon where more than 80% of our employees are male, we know it can be a hard slog. We’re investing significantly in our people and a range of strategies to create gender equal workplaces, where everyone can have their capability and contributions valued.
Last month, Aurizon announced an Australian-first initiative called ‘Shared Care’ which made news around the world. We’ve revelled not so much in the publicity but our optimism that other Australian companies may now take it up.
This week, I’ve been humbled and honoured to receive on behalf of Aurizon the UN’s Cultural Change for Empowerment Award for “unwavering and proactive commitment to gender equality throughout its business operations”. The UN acknowledged this is the first time an Australian company has featured in these awards, so needless to say, I’m very proud of Aurizon’s work in achieving a more diverse and inclusive workplace.
The Women's Empowerment Principlesis a joint initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact. The Principles, which were developed in 2010, outline seven steps for business on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. Learn more at www.weprinciples.org
Collectively there is so much work we need to do at a business and community level — not just in equalising the care of children, but in addressing the gender pay gap, improving female workforce participation and getting more women into leadership roles. There’s also the work being done on ending the societal scourge of violence against women and children.
We know Aurizon has a long way to go on this diversity journey, and we only hope that by sharing our learnings, that more and more Australian companies can keep transforming their workplaces for the better. If you’d like to find out more about what we’re doing in the diversity space contact email@example.com