“Men have got to be part of the answer,” said ANZ NZ CEO Antonia Watson when asked what it will take for businesses to achieve gender equality in the workforce.
Antonia was joined by ANZ Chief Economist Sharon Zollner, Emma Twigg, Maila Alatasi and Erica Lloyd at ANZ’s International Women’s Day breakfast event at the ANZ Centre on Monday.
The topic #EachforEqual – why gender balance is not a women’s issue, it’s an economic one was discussed by the panel of successful women, with more than 100 ANZ staff in attendance.
While the discussion covered a range of topics one theme was paramount – embracing diversity will help businesses prosper.
Sharon Zollner said “diversity of thought and experience” is key to avoiding group think, and ensuring women are involved in the conversation will lead to more diverse decision making and outcomes.
Antonia addressed how quotas and targets can play a role, and that initiatives such as having a gender-balanced short list can ensure organisations look a little harder to find the right person – whether that be a male or a female.
The panel agreed diversity isn’t confined to gender, it encompasses all backgrounds, experiences and cultures. They acknowledged it can be easy to feel the need to conform to the status quo but businesses do better when more opinions are at the table. It’s a workplace’s job to ensure all employees feel confident and comfortable to share their view.
Maila Alatasi said it best: “A different perspective and different cultural lens is your superpower.”
Achieving gender equality in the workforce requires committed women and men from a range of backgrounds working towards the goal, together.
Watch the discussion above.