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Sovereign awarded 2018 White Camellia Awards

Media release

5 September 2018

Sovereign awarded 2018 White Camellia Awards for its leading gender equality initiatives

Sovereign’s commitment to the professional development of women in the workplace has been recognised at the 2018 White Camellia Awards.

Held at Government House in Auckland last night (September 4), the White Camellia Awards celebrated organisational commitment to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a UN Women and UN Global Compact initiative which encourages gender equality in the workplace.

Sovereign was upheld as a leading organisation by taking out two awards: Principle 1 where Leadership Promotes Gender Equality and Principle 7 for its Transparency, Measuring and Reporting of gender equality.

Sovereign’s Board Chair, Theresa Gattung, says the awards are a testament to Sovereign’s ongoing commitment to gender equality in the workplace.

“Sovereign is extremely proud to have snapped up these two awards. We believe strongly in being transparent and sharing our commitment to diversity and encourage all companies to be transparent about gender equality. I would also like to acknowledge the work of Minister Julie Anne Genter who is leading the Government’s initiative in this space.”

In addition, NZ WEPs Committee Chair, Vicky Mee, said Sovereign had been doing “great work to empower women by ensuring women progress into leadership roles and that comprehensive talent identification, support and training opportunities are in place for staff at all levels”.

Sovereign’s Diversity and Inclusion Strategy highlights diversity in leadership which includes a goal of 50 per cent women in manager and above level roles. Sovereign achieved 50 per cent in senior leadership positions in 2016 and has maintained this since. Sovereign has more than 50 per cent in senior leadership positions and 33 per cent female representation on its Board of Directors.

Over the last year, Sovereign has run a number of women’s empowerment events across the country for employees, partners and financial advisers. These have included networking and speeches from Sovereign leaders, its charity partners and other women connected to Sovereign. Sovereign also promotes its commitment to gender equality through its Corporate Social Responsibility Report.

Sovereign is proud to offer its employees a number of benefits including a Return to Work payment for Primary Caregivers, additional leave in the first year of return from parental leave, and paid leave for Secondary Caregivers. Since July 2018 when Sovereign was acquired by AIA Group, the commitment to gender equality has continued with the introduction of Domestic Violence Leave and additional paid leave for Secondary Caregivers.

The White Camellia Awards stakeholders include New Zealand’s UN Women Committee, the Equal Employment Opportunities Trust, the Human Rights Commission, and the Federation of Business and Professional Women New Zealand.


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