The event represented a fantastic cross-section of the community and a time to turn our thoughts to this year’s theme of ‘Leave no woman behind’.
It is a reminder of how far we have come but how much more we can do – collectively in business and in the community.
In Aurizon, we have made significant progress in re-shaping the diversity of our company, which has a history of predominantly male employees.
Since 2011, our female participation has increased from 11% to just over 20% today. We have introduced a range of initiatives to promote gender diversity and to develop the capability of Aurizon women.
Andrew shared with the audience today his aspiration to bring more Aurizon employees closer to our operations throughout Australia. By growing our regional presence, we will open up more job and career opportunities for women in regional communities.
“Already we have more than 600 women working in regional Australia. Some of these women have been trailblazers for our company and our industry,” he said.
“The first women to drive trains in remote areas; to maintain locomotives, or to work on track gangs across regional Australia. Others have become leaders in operational roles traditionally held by men.
“It is also my strong belief that we will only maximise the potential of a diverse workforce by being more inclusive. Inclusive workplaces create the right environment for diversity of thought, where we are not constrained by tradition or by groupthink.
We need to create an environment of involvement, respect and participation where we actively encourage different perspectives. And in my experience, change is most powerful when it is driven by your employees.”
In Aurizon, there are a number of grass-roots networks that have grown within the Company in recent years, including the Male Champions of Change, the Indigenous Reference Group, and the LGBTIQ network – ALLin.
Rather than taking a hierarchical top-down approach, Aurizon encourages employees to have a strong voice. Where they can actively shape diversity and inclusion from their own perspective, and in their own work environment, and to influence the wider organisation.
Every person in an organisation has the power to make meaningful change, and to share different experiences and different backgrounds. That’s the opportunity through a creating a more inclusive work environment.
Pictured: UN Women National Committee Australia Executive Director Janelle Weissman (left) with Aurizon MD & CEO Andrew Harding (centre) and Aurizon employees at the Brisbane UN International Women's Day Breakfast.