Being bold for change – International Women’s Day 2017

March 8th is International Women’s Day.  This year’s theme is #BeBoldForChange by taking groundbreaking action that truly drives the greatest change for women. Last year organisations rallied their people to pledge support to help forge gender parity. Progress has been made, but the World Economic Forum still estimates the gender parity gap won’t be fully closed until 2186. This is far too long away, and more can be done now to help get us closer.

#BeBoldForChange this #IWD2017

Whilst a lot of companies talk about doing their bit, Teamsquare member Cogent is really putting their money where their mouth is.

The national gender pay gap is currently 16.2% but to try and combat this, Cogent have had an open salaries model since launching almost ten years ago. This means that salaries are calculated according to a matrix that focuses on skills and experience, and every Cogent employee has full transparency over who sits where on the matrix. They’ve found this helps avoid any unconscious bias, ensures a female would never get paid less for the same role at the same level as a male counterpart, and encourages team members to take ownership of their own professional development and career progression.

Cogent’s Managing Director Marty Andrews has talked publicly about their open salaries model many times, and once it was even caught on film. Check it out to hear what they’re doing. Beyond salaries, Cogent’s transparency towards profit sharing, flexible working (including part-time options), fostering an open learning and collaborative culture all help dismantle the structural gender bias that hold women back. They set ambitious diversity targets and foster diversity in their culture, even in small ways such as their #diversity Slack channel. We’re proud to call Cogent members of Teamsquare, and call on all organisations, Teamsquare members or not, to try and incorporate these and other measures truly drives the greatest change for women.

This International Women’s Day, it’s time to ask yourself, what bold actions are you talking to help drive gender parity. Got a big meeting coming up? Take a junior woman to a client or sales meeting.  Been invited to speak on a panel? If there are no women on the panel, refuse to participate (better yet, take the pledge to not be part of male-only panels). Got sons? Educate boys about stereotypes and violence against women. There are many more ways to help, so dig in.

We’re proud of the steps we’ve taken within Teamsquare. We think deeply about the design implications of our physical space, mindful to not create a “brogrammer” environment (you’ll find no ping pong tables here). We’re the first co-working space in Australia to be accredited by the Australian Breastfeeding Association as a Breastfeeding Friendly Workplace. We have 50:50 gender parity across Teamsquare employees, and will always have active female members on the board of directors.

We have urgent work to do. Are you ready to #BeBoldForChange this IWD 2017 and beyond?