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Why inclusion is crucial to diversity
Corporate responsibility |Author Carmel Hourigan
15 March 2019

Following last week’s International Women’s Day celebrations, I’ve spent the past few days in New York attending the 63rd United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW).

The CSW is the chief global policy making platform for women’s rights and gender equality at the UN, attracting thousands of active participants to share their experiences and provide an opportunity to network, learn, strategise, and advocate collectively.

During my trip I’ve had the opportunity to share my experiences as a special advisor to the Property Male Champions of Change (PMCC), an initiative that has gained international recognition as a high-impact model to drive progress.

The PMCC recognises that inclusion and diversity matters and has a powerful impact on overall performance. While both men and women need to work together, it’s given men particularly in leadership a critical voice in the conversation and a clear role to play.

"... it’s important that we focus on inclusion, action, and accountability in the workplace..."

For our part, at AMP Capital, initiatives such as Flex for Performance, balanced recruitment practices, talent strategies and our Inclusion and Diversity Council are genuinely supported by our leaders. None more so than from fellow Male Champion of Change, CEO of AMP Capital Adam Tindall who is a vocal and passionate advocate of equality.

While we still have some way to go, by thinking differently, we’re helping make positive changes.

As leaders it’s important that we focus on inclusion, action, and accountability in the workplace – we need to be bold.

Pictured, left to right, from the Male Champions of Change group: Elizabeth Broderick (Independent Expert of UN Working Group on Discrimination Against Women), Steve McCann (Group Chief Executive Officer and Managing Director, Lendlease), Selina Short (Managing Partner, Real Estate and Construction, EY Oceania), Carmel Hourigan (Global Head of Real Estate, AMP Capital), Serena Wolf (Global Real Estate, EY), and Kathy MacDermott (COO, Property Council of Australia and Program Director)

One of our major focusses at AMP Capital is talent – how do we think about diversity of talent, particularly women, and how do we manage their careers in our organisation?

Too often we take a narrow view of talent for new roles or promotions because we’re used to relying on the same old trusted individuals.

I know I’ve been guilty of this myself in the past – it’s easier and it feels safe.

"Diversity drives innovation, and innovation drives diversity."

But I’ve learnt that in doing so, we overlook individuals that don’t “fit the mould” – people who bring different perspectives and experiences.

In essence – we’re missing out on the diversity advantage.

These are the people who can bring different skills and capabilities to the roles.

Diversity drives innovation, and innovation drives diversity. Yet, it’s only with inclusion does the real impact of diversity thrive. This is why we are focused on inclusive leadership and unconscious bias training for all leaders.

Being part of PMCC has made a huge difference to the way I’m now able to influence discussions around inclusion and diversity in corporate Australia.

It obligates those who participate to work towards practical changes in their own organisations, and to measure the results.

It’s important because we need men and women working together to ensure we see real change.

Through sharing ideas and encouraging each other we’ll continue to see improvements.