Cotton On, Coulter Legal win at Gender Equity Awards

November 26, 2022 BY

Gender Equity Awards CEO Lisa Sweeney (left) with Cotton On's Rebecca Stokes and Elizabeth Keegan. Photos: RIC GENTILUOMO/IMAGE TO BRAND PHOTOGRAPHY

A PAIR of Geelong businesses have taken home trophies in the inaugural running of the Recalibrate Gender Equity Awards.

The eight winners and winning organisations have been at the forefront advocating for gender equality implementing a huge breadth of activities leading the way in Australia.

The national awards drew 80 entries across the eight categories, with the 24 finalists considered by a panel of 20 judges.

Cotton On won Best Enterprise Business (more than 1,500 employees) for its exceptional programs and initiatives implemented for the entire workforce.

These included Family and You (Cotton On Childcare), returnity (a phased return to work program after parental leave), Baby and You packs (a pack of sleepwear, activewear and newborn essentials), many staff opportunities around wellness, and initiatives for family pets.

Coulter Legal were a standout in their category of Best Medium Business (between 100-499 employees), championing flexibility in the workplace at all levels including senior principal part-time roles, a first for the industry; and being unbiased in progression by promoting a lawyer to senior lawyer while on maternity leave.

Coulter Legal’s Belinda Perisic, Sarah Minter and Sarah Duffy with Gender Equity Awards CEO Lisa Sweeney (first from right).


Gender Equity Awards chief executive officer and Business in Heels CEO Lisa Sweeney said the awards process revealed commonalities across the various entrants in terms of best practice in gender equity, such as parental leave instead of maternal or paternal leave, as well as some innovative individual examples.

“So we had a lot of people on the night making notes about what they wanted to do, and actually some of them buddying up with each other to find a solution.

“Even some of the stories from companies who didn’t win were very compelling.”

The black-tie gala evening was celebrated last week at Melbourne’s Crown Casino.

A who’s who of the business world championed gender equity, heard stories from the finalists and enjoyed a powerful keynote by Workplace Gender Equity Agency director Mary Wooldridge.

The winners in other categories were:

  • Best Large Business (between 500-1,500 employees) – L’oreal Australia
  • Best SME Business (less than 100 employees) – Gippsland Regional Sports Academy (GippSport)
  • Best CEO or Board Member – Leonie Noble
  • Best Senior Manager – Leonora Wisse
  • Best Manager – Rosie Ponriss, and
  • Best Employee – Melanie Tran.

For more information on the awards, head to genderequityawards.com.au

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