We have recognised this day worldwide for over a century and this year’s theme for International Women’s Day #ChoosetoChallenge has never been more reflective of the attitude of New Zealanders as we move through these challenging times.
A recent Forbes article highlights one of our very own female leaders Prime minister Jancinda Ardern, among others. However you don’t need to be a leader of 5 million to embody, channel and promote this years theme #ChoosetoChallenge, we are surrounded by kiwi wahine and tangata who are doing just that.
Tribe spoke to some of our most prominent female and male leaders that we work with to ask; what does this year's theme #Choosetochallange mean to them and how they are going to embody it when it comes to challenging the status quo on gender equality in the workplace?
Lisa Davis - Head of Procurement and Supplier Management, Spark
My #Choosetochallenge is a personal one and one that is to help support and challenge the woman around me to focus on gaining back control of their personal power. So many times over my career I have given my personal power to another person whether it's my manager or simply people that are more senior to me that I admire and respect. When I say personal power what I mean is – I have unconsciously given permission to others to derive whether I am good enough, I have given them power to decide if my voice is worthy enough to be heard and as a result have not spoken up to inequality and in some cases have not spoken up at all or had the confidence to put my hand up for opportunities as I didn’t feel that I was suitable as the “approval or nod” had not been given to me by someone else. My challenge is for all, especially woman, (as I suspect is that the imposter syndrome is stronger in woman than men) for us ladies to take back that power and find confidence and strength within themselves to put their hands up for opportunities, to take a risk, to speak up when they believe things are not equal and to be courageous and speak up for others around them. #takebackyourpersonalpower
Tiffani Graydon - Chief Executive Officer, Yealands Wine Group
As CEO of one of New Zealand’s most successful international wine producers, it is no surprise that Tiffani Graydon is driving gender equality in every area of the business, right down to the cellar room.
“Two initiatives will be top of the agenda at Yealands again this year where we seek to challenge inequality and stereotypes. The first is our commitment to increasing company paid maternity and paternity leave, because those early weeks with a new baby are so important for both parents. Secondly, we’ll continue to support our amazing women throughout the business who excel in roles which are otherwise dominated by men in the industry, like our vineyard operators, cellar hands and winemaking team. We focus on some of the fundamentals to ensure that safety gear, machinery and smoko-rooms facilities are suitable for both men and women. And we celebrate them at every chance we can!”
Martin King – Director, Pride Pledge
A champion for Diversity & Inclusion and a leader in the LGBT community, Martin King has a challenge to all organisations out there.
“I challenge all organisations to review their pay data, and assess their gender pay gap. You don't know if you have one until you look, and ignoring it won't fix it. If you find a gap, address it head on, and close the gap for now and future generations.”
Susan Lowe – Director People & Culture, Coca Cola Amital
Leading the people behind one of New Zealand’s largest drinks companies, Susan Lowe’s views on gender equality in the workplace are felt far and wide.
“At its core, International Women's Day is a day of celebration to recognise the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women across the world. While there is much to celebrate, there are areas where we must do better. This year's theme of #ChoosetoChallenge is a powerful one. For us to do better, I #Choosetochallenge gender bias that still exists within all aspects of society, I #Choosetochallenge ourselves as women to lean in more and support one another and I #Choosetochallenge myself to be a better role model for women in leadership and do so as my authentic self.”
Michele Kernahan - Managing Director, Halls Group
I think immediately of how important it is for us all to challenge not just others but ourselves, when it comes to gender equality in the workplace. What decisions are we making, and what’s driving those decisions? What role do we have to play in building a more inclusive community, workplace or life for New Zealanders? We also need to challenge a gender bias –and not the typical one. So many men in my life are incredibly supportive of ensuring there’s equality, that the right person gets the right job, and that fairness is always at play across all aspects of business. So for this day, and days in the future I guess you might say I choose to challenge stereotypes of all kinds.
Andrew Howard - Team Leader Recruitment Advisor, Oranga Tamariki
“A challenged world is an alert world and from challenge comes change. So let's all choose to challenge.”
“International Women’s day serves a reminder to myself about all of the challenges for the women I work with, something that should require no reminder, whether it be colleagues, job applicants or leaders, I strongly believe that all women for their efforts should be celebrated. Having worked for strong wahine leaders for most of my professional career, I would hate to think that I am likely to be naive to some of the challenges for our female workforce. When I am thinking about challenging the status quo, I am thinking of un-normalising stereotypes and promoting the understanding of bias within our recruitment processes. Similarity bias is a real factor towards pay equality and should be challenged frequently.”
Kylie Goodwin – Director People and Capability New Zealand Trade & Enterprise
"For me, choosing to challenge is deeply set in my DNA, as a women, daughter, wife, sister, leader and as a diversity and inclusion champion. Looking forward also requires us to look at what’s gone before us. Therefore, I’ll be continuing to focus on closing our gender pay gap, increasing our representation of women in leadership roles and welcoming more wahine to NZTE."
Ali Duncan - Chief Marketing Officer, Online Republic Group
As a leader in one of New Zealand’s largest travel agency groups, 2020 would have been one of the most challenging years to navigate through, but for Ali breaking the systemic barriers of gender inequality is front of mind.
“To me, ‘choose to challenge’ is about not resting on company belief systems that support gender equality, but proactively working to identify and address where inequality is at play in your workplace. Gender inequality is systemic, so it will be there as a default unless we are actively challenging norms. This year we are delivering unconscious bias training to our entire workforce to raise awareness of how bias impacts us at work and what we can do collectively to create a more inclusive and equitable workplace.”