Equity and innovation as the drivers of change


Posted on March 7, 2023



Event Management

What Cliftons is doing this International Women's Day

International Women’s Day, held each year on 8 March, is always an opportunity to reflect on how we can eradicate bias, stereotypes and discrimination against women.

There are two themes for International Women’s Day 2023: the corporately driven International Women’s Day organisation theme of #EmbraceEquity and the United Nations theme “Cracking the code: Innovation for a gender equal future.” Both themes are worth highlighting in their own way, with opportunities to drive different conversations about the actions we can all take to improve gender equality.

How we are #EmbracingEquity at Cliftons

A key goal of International Women’s Day is building workplaces where women thrive. Cliftons is proud to have created an inclusive workplace that supports women at all levels, with balanced gender representation throughout the company, particularly at the leadership level. With a woman as CEO, Cliftons is bucking Australian business trends, with the Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WEGA) reporting that only 22.3% of CEOs in Australia are women.

We have strong gender balance in our leadership team (again, defying Australian trends with WEGA’s 2022 Gender Equality Scorecard reporting that only one in four organisations have a gender-balanced leadership team) and strong female-dominant teams in Marketing, Customer Success, Sales and HR.

We’ve also introduced a range of benefits, including flexible working for all staff and extended parental leave regardless of gender or family situation. By normalising caring responsibility for all employees, we’re removing one more barrier to women in the workplace.

Our “All Roles Flex” policy takes the same flexible, inclusive work culture available to our sales and corporate roles and makes some of the same options available for our front-line venue staff. Whilst many of these roles cannot be done remotely, we have introduced greater flexibility around work hours, the ability to work across different Cliftons locations and the opportunity to purchase additional annual leave. Introducing a range of technology platforms to help our team members be productive regardless of location also helps with these policies.

Technology is a major driver in closing the gender gap

This brings us to the United Nations theme of “Cracking the code: innovation for a gender-equal future.” Encouraging women towards technology careers is just one aspect of this important theme. The United Nations Women’s Gender Snapshot 2022 report found that women’s exclusion from the digital world has shaved $1 trillion from the GDP of low and middle-income countries in the last decade. Yes, $1 trillion. And that’s expected to grow to $1.5 trillion by 2025 if we don’t take action.

The report found that women hold only two in every ten science, engineering, and information and communication technology jobs globally. With the modern events sector being so reliant on technological innovations, it’s clear that this is a gap our industry needs to overcome to more effectively tap into the skills the energy of a significant chunk of the workforce.

With girls continuing to be systematically steered away from science and math careers across the globe, this requires change from the group up. A Women in Tech survey in the United Kingdom from 2019 found that one of the most significant contributing factors for women not pursuing a career in tech is the need for more visible female role models. A major goal for Cliftons in 2023 is to increase the number of women in technical roles, in our event services and IT teams and create opportunities to profile these women to attract more diverse talent to this incredible industry.

Our capabilities to host digital and hybrid events are also helping to improve women’s participation in various events. By giving people the choice of when and how they attend and consume events, we’re helping reduce discrimination and women’s marginalisation.

A culture of inclusivity supports everyone

It’s widely recognised that diverse teams, with all the variation in thoughts and perspectives that it brings, lead to better innovation and problem-solving. With the meeting and events industry going through a dramatic change in recent years and no sign of these trends going away, increasing diversity only means Cliftons can continue to evolve and offer our clients cutting-edge events innovation backed up by exceptional service.

While we’re proud of, and continue to celebrate, the steps we’ve taken so far to champion women and gender equity, we know there’s more to be done. This includes educating everyone at Cliftons on how to challenge thinking around gender stereotypes – and continuing to engage our male colleagues as allies to show that everyone can be part of the solution to #EmbraceEquity.

As we continue on this path, we encourage all our clients to join us as we all stand to benefit when women can more fully and actively participate in all aspects of business and life.

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