Businesses empower women

Last updated 05:00 08/03/2014

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Three Christchurch businesses have been recognised for their women's empowerment practices.

UN Women NZ Canterbury and the Zonta Club of Christchurch South held a breakfast event this week to celebrate International Women's day.

President of UN Women NZ and former Green MP Sue Kedgley handed a Women Empowerment Principles (WEP) award to Leeann Watson, general manager of Canterbury Employers Chamber of Commerce.

Andrew van Herpt and Samantha Pickavance, of Skope Industries, and Meryll Waters, chief executive of Lane Neave, were also meant to receive the award, but could not attend because of heavy floods the previous day.

Kedgley said it had been demonstrated repeatedly that businesses that promoted women and had women on their boards often did better than businesses that did not embrace gender equity in the workplace.

She said 35 New Zealand businesses had signed up to the WEP, including only three Canterbury businesses.

"I'm not sure why but we haven't had much response from Christchurch.

"Maybe businesses are distracted by the earthquakes and just trying to survive," she said.

Watson said that diversity in the workplace was part of good business practice.

The CECC was promoting ongoing support for young women entering the workplace and the particular challenges they faced.

"By and large, we do pretty well [in Canterbury]. There will always be some industries that are more male-dominated than others . . . but there are a lot of women involved in professions like engineering and construction.

"And that is beause employers pick the best person for the work, not because they chose women over men."

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- BusinessDay

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