Some of the key trends making a difference are the number of female founders, the war for talent and the acceptance of flexible working.

The number of female founders has been steadily increasing for the last decade.  Today 34% or 668,670 women are business owners which is a 46% increase in the number of women business operators over the past two decades. The exciting impact of this on the gender economy is that women are supporting other women. According to Alanna Bastin-Bryne, co-founder of Femeconomy, “A business with a female founder and female executive employs 6x more women. They are part of the solution to improve women’s economic security and workforce participation.”

The war for talent is real with a shortage of skilled staff everywhere. This has made it more important than ever before for employers to stand out. Small business owners are nimble and quick to respond to opportunities and often very flexible in relation to hours worked, remote working, and health care issues all of which create an ideal environment for more women employees.

An example of how small businesses can be different is demonstrated by Sabio. They are an award-winning PR firm that offers benefits like a 9-day fortnight, remote and flexible working with the added bonus of a day off to celebrate your Birthday. Plus, they really get the health issues, providing their team with the obvious parental leave benefits and then they go a step further to include miscarriage leave and support. So, it’s no surprise that they have attracted a high number of female employees.

The value-driven businesses focused on “making a difference” are another way to attract a team who are passionate and willing to go above and beyond. Thank-You and Who Gives a Crap are both great businesses that people would be proud to work for. Both brands work to provide water, sanitation and health for those in poverty which is one of the key criteria for helping countries towards Gender Equity. And we know gender equity is good for business. When you have a team that loves coming to work, they are motivated and do a great job!

Some of the facts…

Small business is the engine of Australia’s economy with more than two million trading businesses, around 96% are small enterprises with up to 19 employees. That’s about 5 million people of which 85% are men and 65% women. The 20% gap is making a big difference to the economic security of women and gender equity over their lifetime.

Obviously, women taking on the caring role of the family & elderly parents is a key factor in driving these numbers.

There are two factors that will make a difference. One is the access to employers who can work flexibly with the woman’s limitations and the other is access to affordable childcare.

The last two years of COVID have moved the dial on the acceptance of flexible and remote working. This has enabled a number of women who previously had not been able to work to enter the workforce.

And in answer to affordable childcare recently the Victorian Government has committed $9 billion to expand kindergarten programs across the state. This means that: From 2023, free kindergarten programs will be available for all Victorian three‑ and four‑year‑old children at participating services – a saving of up to $2,500 per child, every year and creating 15 hours of free time for the primary carers. It is estimated that this will impact as many as 25,000 women

So, what are some of the stories we haven’t heard?

It’s your chance to stand out as an employer of choice and be recognised through the gender Equity Awards.

FOCUS on Excellence

SHARE & CELEBRATE best practice

ACKNOWLEDGE great behaviour

ENCOURAGE improvement

EXPEDITE 50/50 before 2130

These Gender Equity Awards will work to inspire a groundswell of activity by acknowledging great ORGANISATIONS and INDIVIDUAL advocates. The sharing of their stories and best practices will give others a roadmap and the incentive to succeed.

Ms Sweeney, CEO of Business in Heels, said she hoped the awards would bring many positive stories to light and create a groundswell of good news stories about gender equity. “Every little bit counts and maybe this will be the tipping point in driving change. I would like to see some major change in my lifetime.”

Entries close on August 31 and finalists will be announced on October 1. The awards will be held on November 16th at Crown Casino in Melbourne.  To enter it is simple and takes less than 10 minutes.