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Have Australian companies desensitized gender diversity?

The word desensitize means to make less sensitize; free (someone) from a phobia by gradually exposing the person to the thing that is feared.

AMP Capital argues that Australian corporations are at risk of stalling on gender diversity due to their desensitization of the issue.  They, being Australia’s top corporations, have made gender diversity less of a sensitize topic, however, AMP Capital believes that it is a mistake if investors overlook a company’s diversity initiatives and values.

According to AMP Capital Corporate Governance Manager Karin Halliday, “AMP Capital has long argued that investors benefit from digging deeper and looking beyond financial statements when valuing companies. If you accept that a company’s value is largely driven by the actions of its people, it follows that teams best able to generate strong returns for shareholders will be those that are happy, engaged, collectively intelligent and also cognitively diverse. Gender diversity is a good place to start but diversity of all forms is important.”

For the past six years AMP Capital has monitored Australian companies to determine which have female directors. As of 2016, 14 companies within the ASX200 have zero female directors. Although, these companies are within an array of industries, the metal and mining sectors struggle with gender diversity the most.

To help corporations improve on their female hiring and promotions, AMP Capital provided five suggestions that could improve gender diversity in Australian companies:

  1. Acknowledge we are part of the problem and the solution.
  2. Understand our biases and address them.
  3. Champion benefits of diversity.
  4. Provide equity opportunities: recruitment, flexible work, support, promotion and pay.
  5. Set measurable targets and report progress

-Ray Hayes

Professional Planner

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