Gender Equality Trends in Attracting Investors in Indonesia.

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Over the past few decades, there is a growing concern regarding the sustainability from investors. Currently, they are starting to take action. According to research by most investment leaders, they have described steps companies can take to integrate issues into investment criteria.

Gender equality is one of the sustainability issues concerned by investors. This is because the issue can give a signal to investors that the company is doing well. One study showed a spike in stock prices after a company won an award linked to diversity initiatives. Bukalapak is one of the companies whose investors are starting to ask questions regarding gender data, including types of programs or activities they have related to gender equality.

"They [investors] also ask for data on Board positions, such as how many boards are there, what is their age range, and how many are women and men," added Sufintri Rahayu, Vice President of Corporate Affairs at Bukalapak in webinar series episode 3, Investor Relation: The Real Value of Gender Equality (27/10/2021).

Meanwhile, Digiserve by Telkom Indonesia has taken the initiative by presenting gender data in the annual operating plan. In the report, there is a section related to gender diversity and inclusion with clear targets, objectives, and measurements. In 2020, Digiserve underwent the Gender Equality Assessment Result and Strategy (GEARS) assisted by IBCWE and identified several areas that require performance improvement. The data then becomes a target, which Digiserve reports its movement every quartile to the Board of Directors.

However, according to a study released by KPMG in 2020, only 43% of companies published a Sustainability Report and included Gender Equality (Sustainable Development Goal number 5) in their report.

Gender Equality Trends in the Indonesian Market

In Indonesia, there have been positive development as well, for example starting from only 12 companies that signed the Women Empowerment Principles in 2010, there are already 145 companies in 2021. So it can be seen that more companies are aware of the importance of gender equality, diversity, and inclusion in their companies. The government has also started to get involved by carrying out many programs and movements that support women and gender equality towards Sustainable Development Goal number 5.

In the informal sector, empowerment has flourished. Through the Srikandi Bukalapak program, female sellers outside Indonesia's big cities participate in educational and mentoring activities from Bukalapak so that they are able to become contributors to economic development in their households, send their children to school, renovate houses, and other needs. The selected figures will become community captains as role models who will help small communities in their area to develop businesses.

"What I believe and ultimately become part of Bukalapak's strategy is that giving example is the most powerful," said Sufintri Rahayu.

However, when it comes to the formal sector, many companies face real challenges in implementing programs or initiatives related to gender equality and gender diversity. For example, gender bias and patriarchal culture are deep-rooted in society and still hinder women to pursue careers, especially in the STEM industry.

This is also felt by Digiserve as a company in the Information and Technology industry which is still dominated by men. Globally, only 20 percent of women work in the STEM industry and only about 30 percent in Indonesia. This makes the talent pool very small. Therefore, Digiserve has an important task to develop and raise awareness to stakeholders and investors to increase women's participation at the executive and board levels.

"We feel gender equality, diversity and inclusion are very valuable and it's the right thing to do," said Rey Sihotang, Head of CEO Office and Vice President Corporate Secretary Digiserve.

Digiserve also encourages the participation of women in the STEM industry in Indonesia through several policies related to recruitment that must have female candidates and productivity assessments that have been implemented through work flexibility policies since 2017. “With this, hopefully, women out there can be more inclined to work at Digiserve," he added.

To maintain and improve the trend of gender equality in business, Digiserve will continue and establish a culture of gender equality, diversity, and inclusiveness for employees through various programs and initiatives.

“We are still striving to make gender equality a live reality, not just an annual report. We want to see it active in the culture, we value our employees the same, we want to eliminate gender bias and bullying to set up a more inclusive culture to get more ideas, creativity so we can be more competitive in the market,” said Rey Sihotang.

Likewise, with Bukalapak, they will continue what has been carried out and believed to be related to gender equality. In addition, Bukalapak will discuss this issue with investors to continue developing gender equality policies or practices. For example by involving more women, adding office facilities that can support women, and re-discussing maternity leave policies.

In line with Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) number 5, IBCWE works closely with company members to promote gender equality in the workplace. SDG number 5 is a strong element to improve the economy and business by attracting more female talents, public stakeholders, and investors. In addition, it becomes a value that will increase the corporate branding of a company.

Episode 3 webinar series entitled Investor Relations: The Real Value of Gender Equality, on 27 October 2021 is an activity organized by IBCWE and the International Labor Organization (ILO), sponsored by the United Nations Multi-Partner Trust Funds (UN MPTF), and supported by by One CHRP, Info HR Indonesia. Watch the webinar series eps. 3 Investor Relations: The Real Value of Gender Equality on the IBCWE Youtube Channel.

8 November 2021

Tiara Tri Hapsari