ARENA celebrates International Women’s Day
This International Women’s Day, ARENA is celebrating the #BalanceforBetter theme and recognising that a balanced world is a better world.
We agree with International Women’s Day that “balance is not a women’s issue, it’s a business issue” – something reflected in the balance of ARENA with 53.5% of our workforce and over 50% of our executive leadership team being represented by women. This trend extends to the Board, which is made up of five women out of seven members.
This hasn’t come about by accident. Guided by initiatives like the Clean Energy Council’s leadership pledge, we have worked hard to create a balanced culture free from gendered barriers to participation.
Some of our staff took the opportunity to reflect on what the #balanceforbetter means to them.
Working at ARENA strongly aligns with my belief that women should try to find workplaces that:
- allow for personal growth, opportunity and safe risk taking
- provide strong mentoring and support, from both women and men
- have a true learning culture with rewarding subject matter
- create a sense of purpose and really making a difference
- adopt flexible workplaces, particularly for those with caring responsibility – both for the young and the elderly.
I want to recognise and thank all the women at ARENA for their passion, dedication and skill. Thank you all for your contribution to ARENA and for your part in trying to make our world a better place for ourselves and our children.
I’m proud to have recently signed up to the Clean Energy Council’s Leaders’ pledge to show my support for the role of women in the renewables sector. Through initiatives like this we can demonstrate and be held accountable on our commitment to being inclusive leaders, and promote the achievements of women.
It’s impossible to unpack what creates a diverse and inclusive organisational culture in a few short paragraphs; however, I am a firm believer that it begins at the top.
Having a board and an executive who believe in equality and are willing enshrine this in workplace policies and training is absolutely critical – otherwise it’s simply lip service. In my experience, the companies who are willing to put the structures in place to overcome myriad barriers women face in the workforce creates a culture where women can thrive in their careers.
We should celebrate and be proud that ARENA has achieved gender balance in its workforce. It’s pleasing to be part of a wider team that values #betterforbalance for all workers and that this attitude helps to create an environment where attaining high levels of achievement doesn’t come at the expense of its people.”
International Women’s Day is a great opportunity to reflect on the challenges we’ve overcome, and to empower people to continue overcoming the barriers that remain. I think we’re fortunate in this industry to have a lot of senior female representation at the very top – which is hugely inspiring and helps women to know that the ceiling doesn’t exist. But most days I am still the only female in a meeting room filled by men. That’s why this year’s theme is important to me – it reminds us that there is still work to be done in balancing for the better.
At ARENA I think gender is pretty well balanced in the organisation from board down, which is one of the many things I like about the organisation, and different to where I have worked in the past.
I think Audrey Zibelman is particularly inspirational, firstly for her ideas, tenacity and leadership in an industry undergoing radical change, and secondly for her tenacity in keeping going in a male dominated industry.
In order to create a more gender balanced world we need to continue to challenge stereotypes, address unconscious bias and create visible role models for young girls. Young girls should not want to be anyone other than themselves – After all, if you’re trying to be a man, it’s a waste of a woman!
Last week, a 29 year old male I had just met told me he was recently engaged. I asked how he proposed. He told me it was his girlfriend who had proposed – not him. I felt terrible that my initial reaction was one of surprise and shock! If you want to challenge yourself, I encourage you to follow @manwhohasitall on twitter.
Although the energy sector may have some way to go to achieve gender balance, it is fantastic to see so many impressive women in senior roles across the industry.
At ARENA, I’ve always been impressed by how the agency fosters opportunities for young women – and young men – that might not be given to them in other organisations.
I’ve also always been impressed by ARENA’s commitment to flexible working arrangements that allow for better work life balance.
It is a hugely important step towards a more equal world.
When I joined the Commonwealth Government and Energy Division in particular – my manager was a woman, our general manager was a woman and our Division Head was a woman.
They were all terrific to work for and with. More women please!