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Practical ways you can support women in your organisation

Did you know women made up almost half the paid workforce in Australia in 2020, compared to around 30% in 1966?  

Sure, we’ve come a long way from the 60’s, but there are always things to do to drive this upward trend and continue supporting women. For the record, we’re not talking about biscuits in the team room, we mean real flexibility and including them in the decision-making process. But how do you do it? 

We’re glad you asked. 

Along with our major partner, Michael Hill, this International Women’s Day we’re here to give you five tips to implement in the workplace to make every day feel like IWD. 

1. Start by listening

No two women have the same needs so you can’t expect a one-size-fits-all approach to apply to everyone. Take time to have a chat with your team and understand their specific needs. 

2. Redefine workplace flexibility

Echoing the sentiments in point number one, remember flexibility looks different for everyone, too. Whether it’s starting earlier to clock of earlier or taking a long lunch break to pick the kids up, having a flexible approach to flexible working can only help your employees feel supported. Don’t forget about guys in this equation! Offering men flexible working options breaks the stigma of parenting being female focused and spreads the responsibility. 

3. Make supporting women a core value

Providing flexibility and tailoring workplace needs are great ways to support women, but if you want to effect significant change, you must start at the top. 

Making supporting women a core value of the business helps influence the decision-making of the company and considers how a particular change can impact individuals throughout the business. 

To attract the best talent in the market, Michael Hill says it’s important to us to be seen as a great employer for women.  “Women are a critical part of any community and therefore a core part of our ongoing philanthropic initiatives at Michael Hill,” says Jo Feeney, Michael Hill’s CMO. “We will continue to support programs that improve the lives of the women in the communities we operate.” 

Supporting women is in many ways part of the DNA of Michael Hill. They not only employ a huge number of women across the markets they operate, with 84% of their global workforce being female, but they also serve many women as customers of their brand.   

Jo says providing career opportunities that are flexible for women of all ages and life stages is one way Michael Hill supports women.  64% of leadership positions and 43% of the executive leadership team at Michael Hill are female.  

4. Invest in your women

Give your women a reason to stay. 

Forget beanbags and ping-pong tables, we’re talking about meaningful learning and development opportunities and recognising them when they are kicking butt. 

‘Using our talent management processes to identify high potential women and ensure they are supported to progress their careers,’ is one of the many ways Michael Hill invests in their women, says Jo.   

They also look at making a point of calling out their team’s success, ‘celebrating our most successful women internally and externally and sharing their stories’ is another way the company supports their women, Jo tells us. 

5. Look at how you can support women outside your business, too

If your business is already a well-oiled machine, you can look at organisations with the goal of giving women the opportunities they need to succeed. 

In 2021, Michael Hill partnered with Dress for Success as a key initiative around International Women’s Day. 

‘Dress for Success does incredible work around the world, empowering women to have the confidence, tools and inspiration to achieve and overcome challenges they face in their lives,’ says Jo Feeney. ‘It’s truly a wonderful cause that is close to our hearts at Michael Hill and we want to help contribute to the great work that Dress for Success do for so many women globally.’ 

To continue their support of Dress for Success, if you purchase a pair of Michael Hill’s cultured freshwater pearl stud earrings for $25 and $15 will be donated to Dress for Success. To buy your pair, click here. 


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