Disrupt Gender inEquity For Good
SOUTH AUSTRALIA THE DISRUPTOR
SA has led the world in gender inclusion, being the first of the western economies to have women eligible to stand for parliament and second only to NZ for women to get the vote, the first woman Governor in Australia and many firsts in legislation to support women. These positive legal, economic and social innovations disrupted the status quo and were emulated around the world.
It’s time to be world leaders again. This time by applying a gender lens to investment policies and practices for for female founders, innovators and entrepreneurs.
Time and time again programs designed for startups do not attract an equal number of women and men and where public funds are being used to support and attract such programs it is reasonable to expect a criterion be gender equity in participation and investment to be a criteria.
Chooks SA is advocating change in the systems that perpetuate gender inEquity by applying a gender lens to each part of these systems. Investing in female entrepreneurs and innovators is the best place to start.
Gender equity in investment will accelerate South Australia’s economy. Applying a gender lens is a wealth creation tool.
In 2017 the global tech, entrepreneurial and startup world has been rocked by sexism and misogyny. Government has a role in disrupting these behaviours and attitudes to build equity, parity and inclusion.
If SA can disrupt sexism, violence towards women, pay gaps, women's participation in democracy and governance – why not investment at every point in the journey to a successful and sustainable business? Then SA will benefit from the innovation and enterprise of women entrepreneurs in startups and social enterprises.
DISRUPTING PUBLIC POLICY
In SA, the State Government creates the public policy environment through laws, leadership and delivery of products and services through the public sector's procurement and funding streams.
Chooks SA has crowdsourced a range of ideas for each State Government department to apply and has members ready and willing to work with those departments to support the translation of these ideas into practice.
As a purchaser, provider, funder, investor, the South Australian government can start with the following tasks:
- Build a more inclusive ecosystem for entrepreneurs by starting with applying a gender lens
- Identify gender gaps in funding, programs, practices and take pro-active steps to change criteria, entry opportunities, funding models and/or selection processes to bring gender equity
- Promote and showcase practices building pipeline for inclusive entrepreneurship and female founded startups and social enterprises
A Case Study: Ideas for Procurement
- Specifications to be analysed for gender bias in criteria before being made public
- Tender assessment processes and criteria to be analysed for gender bias before being approved.
- Equal representation of male and female on tender assessment panels
- Mandatory specification requirement for respondents to identify gender statistics of the business, and any policies they have on gender equity in the business.
- On quotes for small business/startups – mandatory to seek at least one quote out of three from a business with a female founder/CEO/Director.
- Respondent to provide evidence of payment of equitable wages to staff in their business.
- Assessment criteria giving points on gender ratios of employees within the organisation (eg minimum of 50% representation at all levels of leadership),
- Preferred supplier lists to reflect a minimum of 50% female founder / female led businesses.
- Review questions being asked in procurement processes to eliminate unconscious gender bias and train staff administering these processes.
HOW TO APPLY A GENDER LENS
Inclusive entrepreneurship starts with a gender lens.
A set of simple questions will help apply a gender lens:
- Where are the women?
- What unconsious bias is embedded in the process and questions?
- Who else is missing?
- Who can be invited to collaborate to be more inclusive?
Gender lens investing is an effective driver for any economy. Examples abound around the world: from micro-financing of women in small business in developing countries like Sri Lanka accessing Grameen Bank loans, through to the public policy of loan guarantees to female entrepreneurs of Canada.
The OECD have prepared some advice on applying a gender lens, being promoted by the World Economic Forum. While some of these policy levers require a national approach, SA could prototype for the national context and use COAG and other Commonwealth vehicles to implement and scale up nationally.
1. Improve the institutional conditions.
2. Improve access to entrepreneurship skills programmes.
3. Increase the use of loan guarantees.
4. Help women realise the growth potential of their businesses.
5. Improve access to risk capital for women entrepreneurs.
HOW WE CAN HELP
Chooks SA stands ready to support initiatives that will bring equity for all. We believe the lever that will bring equity as a model of growth to scale is gender equity in investment. Chooks SA members are willing to be included in equity building opportunities, and generating activities to bring change and celebrate wins. We want SA to be known around the world as the first and best place for women to thrive in startups and social enterprises.
Chooks SA is a movement applying a gender lens to make SA the first place in the world for equity in investment for female entrepreneurs and an innovator in startups and social enterprises. There are currently 1200 members in the network from almost every electorate in South Australia.
Authorised by M Deslandes, 13 Methodist St, Willunga SA 5172