Gender Tick, Girls with Hi Vis and new senior leaders - it's been a busy June for gender diversity at Meridian. Guy Waipara, GM Generation and Natural Resources, shares.

"I’m happy to share that we’ve just been awarded the Gender Tick. Meridian is one of only seven New Zealand companies to win the accreditation - it’s a pretty new recognition but not an easy one to get.

The tick recognises the hard work the Meridian team has done over the last few years to promote diversity and inclusion and the work we still need to do. It matters to us that we’re a company that represents the diversity of our country so reaching this goal is something we’ve prioritised. Last year we won the YWCA Equal Pay award, the year before we were a finalist so we’re stepping up.

The Gender Tick recognises our gender inclusive culture which we know is not perfect, with women historically underrepresented in technology-based roles. It’s on me and my team to get that balance into the generation part of our business, as well as doing what we can to lift interest in our industry across a much broader audience.

It’s why every year we work with the Connexis 'Girls with Hi Vis' programme, inviting young women from all over the country to come take a look at what we do. This year 86 women spent a day at three of our sites, having the chance to see what we do day-to-day with the hope that they get why we’re such renewable energy geeks.

This isn’t just a numbers game for us, inclusion and balance makes for better innovation and decision making and opens us up to the widest possible pool of talented Kiwis.

To put real action and support in place, we agreed last year that all our candidate short-lists for recruitment must include at least one male and one female or we’d go back to market. Making calls like this helps us reach our goal of workplace balance.

As well as gender pay equality and a safe workplace, women in leadership was one of the main things the Gender Tick looked at. 

This week we saw progress on this with Nic Kennedy starting as CEO of our subsidiary Flux Federation and joining our Executive team, as well as Margaret Cooney coming on board as head of our online retailer Powershop.

Also, more generally across Meridian, we have a focus on lifting our representation of females in leadership and senior specialist positions from 33% to 40% by 2020, we’re currently at 35%, so we’re getting there!

Getting the Gender Tick isn’t the end goal for us, it’s a milestone that recognises the importance of gender balance at Meridian.

It shows the hard work our teams have done in the past to get us worthy of being accredited, and it’s helping us set goals for the future. 

With the focus and resource supporting our drive towards balance, I’m pretty confident we’ll be impressing the Gender Tick team at the 2021 review."

Ngā mihi,

- Guy Waipara

Dr. Kaisa Wilson, Gender Tick Director said. “With their focus on energy sustainability and environmental responsibility Meridian is an organisation committed to doing what is right. Their attainment of the Gender Tick is another expression of this and we are excited to have them on board. We look forward to working closely with them in the future to continue to improve their responsiveness to gender in the workplace.”