The Shout Magazine (New Zealand)

Gender Tick – a first for NZ

The Lion team at the Gender Tick launch event.

New Zealand women entering the workforce or looking to change roles now have a new tool that highlights those workplaces where women are most likely to get a fair go. The YWCA Auckland in partnership with Mosaik Ltd. announced the launch of The Gender Tick. A first for New Zealand – and possibly the world – this is an accreditation programme for businesses to show their commitment to providing a fair workplace for all employees regardless of gender.

Six of New Zealand’s largest employers have joined as foundation members of the Gender Tick and are working through the accreditation process. Air New Zealand, Auckland Council, Coca Cola Amatil, Fonterra, Lion and SKYCITY collectively represent more than 45,000 employees and their participation highlights their individual commitment to a high performing workplace culture.

The YWCA has established a reputation as a champion for gender equality in New Zealand through pioneering the Equal Pay Awards in 2014, which have grown in influence & entries every year.

YWCA Auckland Business Development Manager, Debbie Burrows says that the idea for the Gender Tick came from the insights and shared experiences of Equal Pay Award entrants. “Companies kept asking us if what they were doing was ‘right’ and so many wanted to know how they could improve in issues like parental leave, sabbaticals and flexible working” she said. “This proved that there was a real need for a programme that independently validates people policies and processes with regard to gender. The outcome that these businesses wanted was a healthy workplace culture; and addressing gender-equality has significant benefits for their workforce” she added.

The YWCA Auckland have partnered with leading Diversity & Inclusion practitioner, Dr. Kaisa Wilson, a recognised Diversity and Inclusion specialist who works with a broad range of organisations including publicly listed companies, private business, government, NGO and grass-roots community groups. Dr Wilson is the lead assessor who says that advancing the rights of women in their workplaces makes sense not just for social justice reasons, but also for reasons of productivity, workforce health, talent management & competitive advantage.

“When women have an equal place in society, everyone does better. However, there is a long history of women’s marginalisation in the workplace, and the gender pay gap is a symptom of this” she said. “To move forward we need to put women at the centre and design organisations in which they lead alongside men. We must ensure that the work women do is valued and paid at the same rate, and that we provide space for women to manage paid work with the unpaid labour that disproportionately falls to them, from which we all benefit. When women do well, we all do well” she concludes.

The programme assesses organisations across five key indicators including gender inclusive culture, flexibility and leave, women in leadership, gender pay equality and ensuring a safe workplace.

Companies who become accredited members of the Gender Tick can display the Gender Tick logo on all internal and external communication, promoting themselves as independently validated champions of workplace gender equality. Membership is reviewed through an evaluation eighteen months after it is conferred, and companies can access research on international best practice for gender-equal workplaces through their member logins.

Here is what Rory Glass – Managing Director Lion NZ (one of the foundation member companies) says about the Gender Tick: “Lion is committed to championing sociability and encouraging people to live well. To do this we need to ensure our people come to work each day feeling valued and supported to succeed and live well, both in their work environment and their broader lives.  Fostering an inclusive and diverse company culture which reflects the world we live in is a major part of this. Gaining Gender Tick accreditation is an honour and supports us on our journey to becoming a fully inclusive and equal company, including achieving our 50:50 gender goal by 2026.”

The Gender Tick has also received support from other business accreditation programmes, the CQ (Cultural Intelligence) Tick and the Rainbow Tick.