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Why Coca-Cola Amatil says we should all be aiming for the Gender Tick

The implementation of the Gender Tick in New Zealand provides jobseekers with a clear guide about which companies have gender equality as a driving principle of their business and, with candidates now expecting rather than hoping for equality, this is a tick NZ companies will want.

Gender Tick was developed by YWCA in Auckland and describes itself as “a unique New

Zealand- based accreditation programme for businesses to demonstrate their commitment to gender equality in the workplace”.

“We designed this first-of-its- kind initiative because we know that businesses are increasingly seeking independent validation that their people, policies and processes promote a healthy workplace for all genders,” the Gender Tickwebsite says.

“Advancing the rights of women in the workplace makes sense, not just for social justice reasons, but also for reasons of productivity. Workforce health, talent management and competitive advantage.

“With this in mind, The Gender Tick has been developed to enable businesses to demonstrate their compliance and leadership in matters of gender in the workplace.”

Gender Tick cites data which shows New Zealand ranks 33rd out of 35 countries for the percentage of leadership positions filled by women with only one off the Top 50 NZX listed companies boasting a female CEO.

“It is not surprising then that one in four millennial women do not feel that there are senior female role models that resonate with them in their current company,” the website continued. “Increasingly we are seeing them seek out employers with a strong record on gender equality.”

The Gender Tick is awarded to companies which pass an independent audit of their processes in five key indicators:

  • Gender-inclusive culture

  • Flexibility and leave

  • Career development

  • Gender pay equity

  • Ensuring a safe workplace

Six major employers in New Zealand have signed up to be foundation organisations for the Gender Tick initiative. They are: Coca-Cola Amatil, Air New Zealand, Auckland Council, Fonterra, Lion and SKYCITY.

Susan Lowe , GM People & Culture (HR) Coca-Cola Amatil NZ explained the company was excited to be a foundation organisation for Gender Tick, saying it was an important initiative to encourage true gender equality in the workplace.

Susan explained that 43 per cent of executive positions with Coca-Cola Amatil NZ were filled by women, and the gender pay gap in New Zealand is at an impressive 0.4 per cent. Coca-Cola Amatil employs 1,100 people in New Zealand.

Susan said the company had implemented a number of its own initiatives to support the empowerment of women including:

  • The David Gonski Women in Leadership Program where high-potential female leaders are invited to take part in a six-month self-development program

  • The Lean In to Amatil development program unlocking the potential of talented females

  • A continued Pay Equity Commitment

  • Review and re-launch of paid parental leave

Coca-Cola Amatil has set a number of targets to realise gender equity by 2020, including a commitment that women will account for a minimum of 30 per cent of board, senior executive and management positions, and having “no statistically significant gaps between the levels of engagement for women and men across the group”.

“We welcomed the audit of our processes because we have done a lot of work towards gender equality,” Susan said. “We are proud to say we offer equal pay for equal work.

“The process was similar to what we went through with the Rainbow Tick (2014) where we were happy to show our commitment to an inclusive workforce and leading by example in doing so.

“People want to know which organisations are doing the right thing, and the accreditation process we went through for the Gender Tick allowed us to demonstrate externally that we are doing the right thing.

“It also provided a sense check for us where we could test to see if we are doing all the right things and are we giving people what they want.”

Agreeing there was a moral imperative to do so, Susan said there continued to be a clear and compelling business case for having a diverse workforce, not least of which is the attractiveness to current and future employees.

“We are in a tight labour market and the fight for talent is right up there,” she said. “For a leading brand, it means we are able to tell the story about our journey and why it is important for us and helps us to compete for talent.

“It is also genuinely the right thing to do. With an organisation with a brand as strong as ours, we have a role to play in telling the story, and encouraging other organisations to get others on board and be good corporate citizens.”

Susan said she remains hopeful that gender equality will be achieved in our lifetime adding “we will know when that has happened when there is nothing left to talk about”.

“However, there is a long way to go before we hit that point of normalisation where gender quality is achieved in the workplace,” she added.

“Currently, gender inequality is a reality in many workplaces, but the conversation is being had, and initiatives like Gender Tick help to drive businesses in the right direction.”

For more information on Gender Tick, visit

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