The Property Champions of Change increased the representation of women across 21 companies to 43 per cent – just one of several standout achievements in a challenging year.
The third annual Champions of Change Coalition Impact Report presents actions on gender equality across 220-plus organisations covering every major sector of the economy. The report is one of the world’s largest cross-sector voluntary public disclosures on gender equality.
The 2020 results confirm a sustained increase in women’s representation and leadership across the property industry.
A gender lens has been applied to all internal promotions, secondments and transfers during COVID-19. As a result, 89.5 per cent of property members achieved at least 40 per cent women in promotions, while 89.5 per cent achieved at least 40 per cent women in recruitment.
While women's recruitment fell slightly from 44.6 per cent in 2019 to 46.2 per cent in 2020, it remained close to the 44.8 per cent average for the founding members, and was well ahead of other male-dominated industries.
The impact report notes that years of normalising flexible work made the property industry’s switch to remote working a smooth one in 2020. As property companies transition back to the office or the work site, property group members are developing practical strategies to support hybrid teams, eliminate distance bias and to address the risk of “ghettoization” of work-from-home roles.
The report singled out the Property Council for again meeting its 40:40:20 gender balance target for 2020-21 industry committees, which now covers 1,800 volunteers.
The 500 Women in Property program got the thumbs up for engaging 650 participants and 100 per cent of the Property Champions of Change members in 2020.
Dexus, Frasers Property Australia, Investa, Lendlease, Mirvac, Scentre Group, Stockland and The GPT Group were all applauded for their WGEA Employers of Choice citations in 2020.
Looking ahead, the Property Champions of Change will continue to eliminate bias in talent processes and are laying plans to tackle occupational segregation in male-dominated sectors such as commercial and industrial real estate and construction.
“As we increase women’s representation across our industry, including in leadership positions, we are determined to tackle the ‘tough spots’ – areas where women remain underrepresented and the culture does not allow all employees to thrive,” says Property Champions of Change convenor Carol Schwartz AO.
“Fostering everyday respect and inclusive cultures are at the heart of this change,” Schwartz adds.
The Champions of Change is the new name for the Male Champions of Change, originally established in 2010 by then Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Elizabeth Broderick AO.
From eight Australian business leaders, the coalition now encompasses 17 groups and more than 250 leaders. As the strategy has evolved and the coalition's work expanded, members and partners have supported a name change alongside the tagline “men stepping up beside women on gender equality”.
“Progress towards gender equality is not universal. There have been setbacks and certainly there is a long way to go,” says Broderick.
“But as we look back over the past decade, we appreciate the impact of the actions of our members and groups in Australia and internationally.”