Today is International Women’s Day. It’s a day to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievement of women around the world. It is also a day to remember the struggles women continue to face around the globe and honour the accomplishments they have made.
As the executive sponsor of AGL’s Network of Women, I’m proud of the achievements our company has made and the insights we’ve gained as we set about improving our workplace gender equity, but we still have a way to go.
The target set by our Board is for a 50 percent appointment rate for women to the Senior Leadership Pipeline (representing around 400 middle-senior managers by June 2016). This was 31 percent at June last year, but over the past four months it has been 47 percent.
There are a number of other important initiatives AGL is focusing on to improve gender diversity:
Network of Women is an AGL employee network run by women to promote gender equality and networking throughout our organisation. A recent focus has been to help men understand that good intentions alone are not good enough. The network held a session recently with Kate Jenkins who since has been appointed Australia’s Sex Discrimination Commissioner and 100 male employees. Kate’s message was that women will only reach their full potential when men become active champions of change.
Illuminate is a program is run by AGL for high potential women leaders and comprises a ‘360 assessment’, individual and group coaching, capability building workshops, career planning and networking events over nine months.
Illuminate Plus is for our senior high potential women and extends Illuminate to include executive coaching and shadowing.
Flexible working has been undergoing a pilot program in our Energy Markets business, allowing men and women to work a compressed week, work from home, job-sharing and so on.
Domestic violence policies have been introduced, after development in consultation with the community sector. AGL offers an additional 10-days leave for employees, and for customers we have improved privacy protection, have specially-trained call centre staff and can provide debt relief.
Victoria Against Violence saw AGL proud to be the first corporate to light up our Melbourne office in orange, joining the Victorian Parliament, as part of the 16 days of action.
Things we Don’t Say is a campaign in AGL workplaces at the moment, with posters in key staff areas to call out particular phrases as unacceptable, such as ‘Man Up’ or ‘Like a Girl’
Finally, we have also lifted our game on diversity more broadly to better address the needs of the LGBTI staff and customers. We have an employee network called Shine and this year we are proud to sponsor Midsumma Festival in Melbourne and Mardi Gras in Sydney, as well as ensuring our advertising now reflects the diversity in our customers and the community.
AGL has made many good steps forward in addressing gender equity in everything we do. But I look to the year ahead for many more positive advances.