Gender Diversity. It’s not all about women

The Women’s Empowerment Principles held its annual summit in New York City last week. These Principles are dedicated to empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors and throughout all levels of economic activity. They have been established to offer guidance on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community.

Speakers at the summit included Hillary Clinton, UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon and Melinda Gates. They highlighted the need for gender equality across economic and social spheres and the importance for girls and women to have the freedom to live the lives they want to live.

Elizabeth Shaw is an Associate Director at KPMG as well as being the past Australian President of UN Women.

This is her update direct from the conference.


Hi. My name is Beth Shaw and I’m coming to you live from the Women’s Empowerment Principles Annual Summit in New York City where I have just spend the last couple of days at a fascinating conference looking at the strategies companies use all around the world to advance gender equality.

The three key messages coming out of today in particular have been that many diversity initiatives actually fail because they focus on changing women rather than focusing on organisational structures and tackling where power lies and really understanding that the power of diversity, is diversity and we won’t be getting the power of that if we actually change the value women bring.

I think the second interesting thing we talked about is that 50 percent of today’s workforce have caring responsibilities and companies that get that flexibility right that enables people to do that will be the ones that win in the future.

And the last thing that I thought was interesting was the discussions about strategy about how diversity itself can’t be something that comes from diversity councils it actually has to be a whole of business strategy that involves not only HR, but involves CFOs, regional leads, marketing, and is something that is mainlined across all business objectives.

The Woman’s Empowerment Principles have been signed by KPMG Australia CEO Gary Wingrove on behalf of the firm.


One thought on “Gender Diversity. It’s not all about women

  1. Beth – love your article and so pleased to hear your report from NYC and your endorsement for the approach we are taking here at KPMG. We have a five year firm wide diversity and inclusion strategy that is focussed on tackling structure, power and knowledge. We also have diversity and inclusion at the core of our firm strategy (our “whole of business strategy”) in the ambition, language and metrics of our people and culture goals. A reminder – the focus areas in our D&I strategy are: gender, ethnicity, flexibility (you mention this above), LGBTI, disability and generational (the latter about how we are going to manage the five generations that will be in our firm before 2020).

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