Tracking and reporting on gender equality enables companies to take meaningful action on their commitment to sustainable growth, asserted policymakers and business leaders during the panel session “Achieving Sustainability Through Internal Capability” held on 26 August 2021 at the Katadata Sustainability Action for The Future Economy (SAFE) Forum 2021 in Indonesia.
In her keynote speech, Indonesian Minister of Women Empowerment and Child Protection Bintang Puspayoga spoke of achieving the common goal of an equitable world. She urged the private sector to continue working with the Ministry on improving gender equality in the workplace as this is crucial to Indonesia’s economic development. Given that greater women’s workforce participation means a corresponding increase in gross domestic product, gender equality is both good for business and the overall economy.
At the forefront of this movement towards workplace gender equality, the Indonesia Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (IBCWE), through its network of 27 large and influential companies, has been implementing a diagnostic tool, Gender Equality Assessment, Results and Strategies (GEARS), to understand gaps, opportunities and strengths in companies’ workplace gender equality strategies.
Developed by Investing in Women, an initiative of the Australian Government, in partnership with the Australian Workplace Gender Equality Agency (WGEA) and influential business coalitions such as IBCWE, GEARS is currently in use in four countries in South East Asia. Companies utilise GEARS to assess progress on 10 focus areas, including leadership and accountability, gender pay equity, workforce gender composition, recruitment and promotion, and preventing and addressing gender-based harassment and discrimination, sexual harassment and bullying. Insights gleaned through GEARS inform corporate actions and enhance company policies.
PT Bank BTPN, Tbk., a founding member of IBCWE, has effectively used GEARS to test, evaluate, and refine their recruitment and talent development processes. As a result, they have achieved a more balanced workforce gender composition at the staff and management levels. Andrie Darusman, Head of Daya and Corporate Communications at PT Bank BTPN, Tbk., also noted that the discipline instilled by GEARS allowed the bank to achieve a Gold Asia Sustainability Reporting Rating (ASRR) from the National Center for Sustainability Reporting (NCSR) for their first sustainability report.
PT HM Sampoerna, Tbk., also an IBCWE member firm, has tracked their progress on gender equality since 2018 and made strides on equal pay and women’s representation, following parent company Philip Morris International’s global target of more than 40% management positions held by women by 2022. Ripy Mangkoesoebroto, P&C Director at PT HM Sampoerna, Tbk., said that they have achieved the GEARS category of Leading Practice but will keep improving the support that they provide throughout the employee life cycle.
PT Vale Indonesia, Tbk., the third IBCWE member firm at the panel discussion, described that their commitment to gender equality means conducting training at all levels to enforce a data-driven cultural transformation. Febriany Eddy, CEO of PT Vale Indonesia, Tbk., shared that they have drafted a roadmap for this transformation and utilise GEARS to collect data and follow up on their targets. The company currently aims to increase women’s representation through proactive recruitment activities.
While there is a growing global trend of companies including sustainability information in their annual reports, such as alignment of business activities with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), gender reporting is still at a nascent stage. Based on the KPMG Survey of Sustainability Reporting 2020, only 43% of the largest 100 companies in 52 countries have prioritised achieving gender equality and empowering women and girls (SDG 5).
However, in a survey of 12,940 enterprises in 70 countries by the International Labour Organisation, two-thirds of surveyed enterprises in the Asia Pacific—including the majority of surveyed enterprises based in Indonesia (77% of 416 Indonesian enterprises)—agree that workplace gender equality and diversity initiatives improve business outcomes, resulting in increased productivity and profitability; increased ability to attract and retain talent; greater creativity, innovation and resilience; enhanced company and brand reputation; and better ability to gauge consumer interest and demand. Companies that report with a gender lens have an advantage in using that data to improve their performance.
To that end, IBCWE and its partners are working to standardise the measurement and monitoring of progress on gender equality and sustainable development. “We want to create uniform indicators to benchmark the companies within Indonesia, and to benchmark them in South East Asia,” said Maya Juwita, Executive Director of IBCWE.
The Katadata SAFE Forum 2021, with the theme “Collaboration for The Future Economy,” was co-presented by Katadata and Landscape Indonesia. View the full recording of the session in the original Bahasa Indonesia language at Katadata Indonesia’s YouTube channel and Facebook site. You may also visit the Katadata SAFE Forum website for additional details.