GENDER EQUALITY IN YOUR BUSINESS – 20 May 2021
On 20 May 2021, our CEO, Dr. Stephen Morse had the privilege of speaking with Ruth Lancaster and Anu Mundkur, co-founders of Equalis. Together, they formed this organisation to assist Australian organisations to improve gender equality and inclusion within businesses. Whilst modern slavery is not a gender-specific issue, it is estimated that at least 70% of women are exploited in forced labour, and one in four of them are children. This highlights an imbalance between the genders in the cycle of modern slavery.
Ruth has a background in business development in large corporations as well as experience in NGO’s, working in child protection. This gave her a passion to consult in similar areas and to expand into developing countries such as Cambodia. Anu shared about the importance of using a gendered lens when addressing humanitarian action. She is driven to assure that privileges such as a good education, a life free from violence, and a good job, are not privileges that one enjoys simply because of the family they are born into. They should be rights that everyone has access to.
There were three main key takeaways from the webinar:
Gender Equality in every Business: It’s important all Australian organisations see human rights as part of their everyday work, with equality and social inclusion. Gender equality can no longer be an afterthought or an add-on but rather part of the culture or DNA of an organisation.
From Response to Prevention: The issue of modern slavery has shone a light on the degree to which women and girls are exploited for profit. The challenge is to think and act in ways that prevent modern slavery before it begins. While we will always need response mechanisms to address modern slavery risks, we need to shift our attention to how we can prevent such human rights abuses before they occur.
Business Collaboration: Globally, businesses should gather information and then share data strategies with each other. When businesses of the same sector work together, such as fashion and garment business or all finance businesses, etc., and use the same strategies to implement gender equality, the results will measure much greater.
This conversation with Ruth and Anu is one that every business around the world can listen to for years to come. Their words challenge us all to take a step back from our businesses and look at whether modern slavery and gender inequality can be prevented before the issues arise. This is our preferred future which is far better than having to respond to it further down the line when the issue is much larger.