team meeting woman in charge

A number of built environment sector companies have been honoured by the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, a federal agency that works to promote and improve gender equality.

There were 120 companies that received the 2017-18 Employer of Choice for Gender Equality (EOCGE) citation, which recognises employers that meet criteria that illustrate a clear commitment to and practice of workplace gender equality.

To receive citations, companies must meet criteria around leadership, learning and development, tackling gender remuneration gaps, flexible working, employee consultation, preventing sex-based harassment and discrimination, and targets for improving gender equality outcomes.

Each year the criteria are strengthened to reflect best practice, with strengthening accountability around flexible work a new prerequisite included for 2017-18.

Mirvac was the only company listed under the construction sector. Real estate services firms included were Dexus, GPT, Lendlease and Stockland. Professional, scientific and technical services firms (the largest sector represented in the awards) included AECOM, Arcadis, Arup, Aurecon, GHD and Jacobs.

WGEA director Libby Lyons said this year had the most number of companies included since the program commenced in 2014, which indicated that the businesses benefits and competitive advantages from improving gender equality were becoming more widely recognised.

“WGEA data shows there is continuing momentum and progress towards gender equality in Australian workplaces,” she said. “However, it also highlights the accountability gap between having a policy or strategy in place and being held accountable for delivering results. Leadership and accountability are essential if real progress is to be made in shifting the entrenched gender divisions in Australian workplaces.”

WGEA said trends among recipients for 2017-18 included:

  • entrenching organisation-wide flexible work
  • programs to support women into leadership
  • tailored parental leave policies to support use by both women and men
  • initiatives to attract women into male-dominated roles
  • supporting men’s caring responsibilities
  • robust analysis and correction of gender pay gaps

“I am particularly delighted to see some of the innovative and exciting initiatives by our EOCGE citation holders covering, amongst other things, flexibility, paid parental leave, supporting women in leadership and addressing gender pay gaps,” Ms Lyons said.

“I congratulate all the 2017-18 citation holders for their commitment to and recognition of the many benefits improved gender equality can bring to their business. These employers are setting the benchmark and the pace for other Australian workplaces to follow.”

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