Top firms lauded for gender equality efforts

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Including more women in leadership and treating them equally in the workplace makes economic sense because it improves the bottom line, said New Zealand Women’s Empowerment Principles Committee chairman Vicky Mee upon the announcement of the winners of the White Camellia Awards.

Top law firm Simpson Grierson won three awards - including the Supreme Award - while other accolades were captured by Westpac, The Warehouse, Coca Cola, KPMG, and Far North Safer Community Council.

"Gender equality and a zero pay gap is a fundamental part of natural justice, and it is therefore really important that we as lawyers implement it in our own business,” said Heather Ash, partner and head of Simpson Grierson's Diversity and Inclusion Committee.

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These are internationally recognised awards and are aimed at encouraging organisations to empower women to ensure that we attain full equality, something which is core to the essence of our society."

The White Camellia Awards celebrate organisational commitment to the WEPs, a UN Women and UN Global Compact initiative which encourages gender equality in the workplace.

The WEPs offer guidelines for businesses on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. Their development included an international multi-stakeholder consultation process, which began in March 2009 and culminated in their launch on International Women’s Day in March 2010.

The WEPs are:
Principle 1: Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality
Principle 2: Treat all women and men fairly at work – respect and support human rights and nondiscrimination
Principle 3: Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers
Principle 4: Promote education, training and professional development for women
Principle 5: Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women
Principle 6: Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy
Principle 7: Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality

The five organisations who make up the NZ WEPs Committee are: UN Women National Committee Aotearoa New Zealand, NZ Federation of Business & Professional Women, Human Rights Commission, Diversity Works NZ and Zonta International District 16.

Related stories:
Gender pay gap dips to five-year low
NZ study blames sexism for wage gap

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