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  • Writer's pictureMegan Storey

The female fight for equality

It’s 2022 and still, on average, women are paid less, have less representation on leadership teams, and retire with less super. We also tend to be the main home-makers (regardless of whether we work or not). This needs to change. Sheryl Sandberg once said. “A truly equal world would be one where women ran half our countries and companies, and men ran half our homes.”

woman wearing hardhat

This International Women’s Day, I wanted to share some work BHP has done with their diversity and inclusion goals. I worked with BHP a few years ago and I was so impressed by the conscious efforts they put into the gender equation.

I won’t regurgitate their website (check out their gender blog). But I do want to highlight the research they did around women in their male-dominated workforce, and what it meant for them.

BHP’s data showed that their most inclusive and diverse teams outperformed their other teams. They found that the diverse teams:

  • deliver safety benefits, with a 67 per cent lower Total Recordable Injury Frequency;

  • have a better culture, with a 21 per cent greater sense of pride in working for BHP; and

  • are more productive, with up to 11 per cent better adherence to work schedules.

People in inclusive and diverse teams are “also more likely to speak up (up to 68 per cent more likely), share ideas, work together to solve problems and make better decisions.” (BHP website).

My contract finished with them at the end of 2018, so I decided to jump into their annual report to see how they’re travelling now. Now back in 2016, BHP had a goal to make their workforce gender equal by 2025. At that point only 16.7% of their workforce was female (about one in six employees). By 2019 they increased that to nearly one in four, and by July 2021, that figure was at nearly 30% representation of females.

They claim they still have a long way to go, which they do, but it’s great to see such a male-dominated industry make a goal and work towards achieving it. What is even better to see is the research they’ve done to quantify the positive impact women have in a workplace. The teams that have more females are safer, have a better culture and are more productive – winners all round.

So, this International Women’s Day, I encourage you to take a look at inclusion and diversity in your organisation and see what you can do to make more opportunities for women in your workplace. Looking forward to the day when Beyonce’s words become true... “Who run the world? GIRLS!”

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