diversity and inclusion


Intersectionality Is The New Frontier For Gender Equity

Over the past year, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has implemented several key initiatives to accelerate gender equality within the retail sector.   

The ARA has been focused on amplifying and investing in leadership development programs specifically designed to increase the representation of women in senior leadership roles across the retail industry.  

Additionally, we’ve engaged with our members to promote inclusive hiring practices and worked on advocacy to address systemic barriers affecting women in the workforce. 

Intersectionality is an important focus for gender equity.   

Recognising the multiple and intersecting identities that impact individuals’ experiences in the workplace is crucial. Understanding the lived experiences of all women is an important component of this. Without an intersectional lens our efforts risk excluding marginalised voices and perpetuating systemic injustices.  

The ARA is committed to advocating for and implementing policies and practices that address the varied experiences of women, particularly those from underrepresented and marginalised groups, to ensure that our approach to gender equity is holistic and inclusive. 

With the introduction of mandatory Gender Pay Gap reporting, which has increased transparency across the country, the ARA has played a vital role in promoting the industry’s active participation and engagement.   

This transparency will likely lead to greater accountability for businesses, prompting them to take more proactive steps to address any identified pay disparities.   

Over time, we expect this to lead to a more equitable compensation landscape across the retail industry, which should help in attracting and retaining top female talent.  

In retail, women are thriving in middle and senior management roles however, the industry is lagging in achieving real growth in women CEO’s and only just staying steady in Board representation.  

Looking ahead, the ARA is focusing on several initiatives to enhance gender equity. These include expanding mentorship and networking opportunities for women in retail, advocating for flexible work arrangements to support work-life balance, and continuing to work with our members to implement equitable recruitment and promotion practices. Doing so through an intersectional lens is of utmost importance to ensure that we encompass all components of inclusivity.   

Our goal is to create a more inclusive retail environment, particularly at the most senior levels where individuals of all genders have equal opportunities to succeed and lead.  

At the ARA, we have a Gender Equality Position Statement that many of the country’s leading retailers have signed on to.  It calls for direct action, such as identifying opportunities to strengthen policies in relation to workplace sexual discrimination and harassment.  

The ARA, in collaboration with the retail sector, is soon to launch a Gender Equality Playbook which will bring together practical actions retailers can take to shift the dial, Intersectionality is a core component of this.  

We’d also like to see retailers adopt a 40:40:20 gender mix in boards and executive teams, with an aspirational target that 50% of director and leadership positions should be filled by women by 2030, in line with the UN Sustainable Development Goals.  

In the short term, however, it’s about making progress rather than seeking perfection. We want to contribute to and promote discussions around gender equality in both the Australian retail industry and the wider community and society.   

Genuine action goes beyond a public statement. It means providing a welcoming, friendly, and safe environment for all employees.   

For more information head to our website https://www.retail.org.au/gender-equality 

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