The GPT Group has marked International Women’s Day by encouraging all of its employees to make a commitment to take bold action to support gender parity.
At an event celebrating the day, GPT’s Chief Financial Officer Anastasia Clarke said GPT had a role to play to help narrow the gender parity gap.
Ms Clarke highlighted World Economic Forum figures which showed Australia had slipped from 15th to 47th in the Global Gender Gap Report over the past decade, compared to New Zealand which was ranked 9th out of 144 countries.
“It’s a blight on our record as a country. It is a real shame and something we wouldn’t accept on the sporting field with the All Blacks versus the Wallabies,” said Ms Clarke.
Noting World Economic Forum estimates that economic gender equality will not be achieved for another 170 years worldwide, Ms Clarke said: “There is a role for us to work out how we can accelerate closing that gap. We really need to get this 170 years down, improve Australia’s performance and improve our own performance at GPT.”
With this year’s theme for International Women’s Day being “Be Bold for Change”, Ms Clarke urged all employees to make their own pledge to help advance equality for women.
“The day is about men and women because together we all want to better the equality and all of our opportunities.
Reflecting on the “bold moment” and “catalyst point” in her career when she accepted a job promotion when she was expecting her first child, Ms Clarke said: “Unfortunately when I look around at other women in my experiences, there’s a real reluctance of self-belief that they could do that.”
“I do encourage women to think, ‘What’s the difference between one job today and a bigger job tomorrow?’. You still are going to have the same amount of hours in the day. You still will have to be efficient, effective and learn to delegate.
“If you are going to come back to work why not come back to a bigger job,” said Ms Clarke about women who take time out of the work to have children.
Ms Clarke said her pledge to support gender parity was “promoting and developing women and men regardless of parental leave”.
GPT Chief Executive Bob Johnston, who is a member of the Property Council’s Male Champions of Change, told the event: “For a country the size as ours we should be able to respond to this in a much more dynamic way.”
In addition numerous pledges made by GPT employees throughout the day to accelerate gender parity, the Group has been taking steps to ensure the same opportunities are offered to all of its employees.
This includes the company offering flexible working to all employees , setting targets for women in leadership positions at GPT, providing more networking opportunities for young women, providing generous paid parental leave provisions for women and men and continuing to pay superannuation contributions to employees on unpaid parental leave.
GPT has also formed a Diversity and Inclusion Working Group chaired by Bob Johnston, which includes gender, First Nations People, LGBTI and ageing workforce representation .
A report published by the Property Council and EY last year found that while women made up 52 per cent of the non-leaderships roles in the property industry only 28 per cent were in leadership roles.
The study of 3800 employees from 18 companies part of the Property Male Champions of Change concluded the “boys’ club mentality and the lack of diversity in senior leadership positions are significant barriers to women entering the property industry”.
The report found that:
• 57 per cent of female leaders had children compared to 72 per cent of male leaders
• 62 per cent of females and 35 per cent of males surveyed were deterred by the boys’ club mentality in the property industry
• 49 per cent of women and 45 per cent of men surveyed felt attitudes towards employees working flexibly needed to change in the property industry
• 84 per cent of females and 87 per cent of males surveyed aspired to attaining a leadership positions