Women bring rewards to companies

AS LAST Friday was International Women's Day, I spent the day attending a number of the wonderful events in the region.

It provided an ideal opportunity for women from a range of backgrounds and experience to mingle, network and share stories.

The original purpose of International Women's Day was as a celebration of respect, appreciation and love towards women, sort of a mix between Valentine's and Mother's Day.

As time has gone by the events have become more about a celebration and sharing of women's economic, political and social achievements.

Attending these events made me think about a white paper I read recently about investing in women's economic empowerment for industry sustainability. The paper took a global view, however I think much of it had relevance to the regions we live and work in.

The paper addresses the fact that despite the awareness and investment by organisations into gender diversity programs, why are there still challenges that prevent women from full economic and strategic participation in many organisations.

By integrating women into their sustainability strategy, companies can help women become part of the solution to building a more sustainable business environment.

Women are increasingly relevant to business as markets; operations and supply chains continue to expand. In these environments, where gender inequity can impact business performance in myriad ways, women's economic empowerment holds significant relevance for sustainable business.

Studies in Australia and overseas have continually demonstrated that companies with more women directors on their boards perform better financially. They are more creative, more innovative and more flexible.

What is interesting is the findings in the first national survey of women business owners and female entrepreneurs this week. The report showed that women who run their own businesses have doubled in the past five years. In Australia there are more than 700,000 women running their own business.

Women are audacious and determined, pioneers and leaders. Their skills need to be recognised and fostered, in leadership in business and particularly in the heavy mining and resource sector.

Employee diversity policies and skills development programs will be highly beneficial to female and male employees and will reward companies with increased productivity, innovation, and employee attraction and retention

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