A gender equality strategy will not be effective unless gender equality as an objective has support from your stakeholders. Chief amongst this support is leadership support and ownership.
A simple way to educate stakeholders about the significance of gender equality for your organisation and to gain their support is by building and sharing a business case for gender equality.
Your business case should aim to answer the following questions:
- How will it improve the happiness and wellbeing of your staff
- How will measures to improve equality impact on your bottom line
- Will it enhance your organisation’s external image and brand
- Will it improve your organisation’s competitiveness
- Will it help you to attract and retain talented staff
- Will it reduce costs associated with staff turnover
- Will it enhance productivity
- Will it help to future-proof your organisation
- Why is it the right thing to do?
The WGEA has developed a high-level business case for gender equality. You may find it instructive when it comes to developing a tailored case for your own organisation:
Once you have written your business case, show it to your stakeholders. You will need their input when it comes to designing your organisation’s vision for gender equality. Getting leaders’ to take ownership of the issue is very crucial for success. Use these points as guidance for proposals, papers or conversations aimed at getting support:
Find out what objectives the Board, CEO or senior leader would like to achieve and in what time frame.
- Help them understand the different gender equality metrics and indicators that might best align with the objectives, and what they mean.
- Organisations that report to WGEA can use their Competitor Analysis Benchmarking Reports to help with this stage.
- Be specific about resourcing requirements (how much help do you need – both human and financial resources), timeframes for execution and alignment with overall business and people strategies, so that your business case is clear.
Your leaders must be the core champions of gender equality. Their reach and influence is usually large among both internal and external stakeholders.
Help and enable your leaders to:
- be vocal about your organisation’s business case for gender equality – internally and externally
- act on their own needs for flexibility in how they work, and role model this for others
- bring gender equality considerations to the forefront of leaders’ discussions on talent, promotions, remuneration and structural changes
- stay across their numbers (representation, recruitment, exits, promotions, pay equity) and other data as it relates to the impact of their gender equality initiatives
It is a good idea to start talking to leaders about resourcing for action on gender equality early in the process. You will know more about your resource requirements as you make more progress towards a fully developed strategy.
Tip: There is research available online that will help you to identify the benefits of gender equality for your business. The WGEA website, Diversity Council Australia, Male Champions of Change and the Australian Human Rights Commission are good places to start. You can access data on the status of gender equality within the private sector on the WGEA’s data explorer.