Katherine Rich on Advisory Council on Employment of Women

6 October 2016

Katherine Rich has today been announced as one of eight people on a reformed National Advisory Council on the Employment of Women, which will address key issues facing women in work.

The Minister for Women, Louise Upston, says the Council will tackle the ongoing barriers to women’s full participation in the workforce.

"There are no female chief executives of New Zealand’s top 50 companies and women make up just 17 per cent of roles on private sector boards. Career progression and managing career breaks continues to be an issue. There is huge potential for women to address current and projected skill shortages, especially in digital technology, engineering, construction and trades."

“The new Council has the skills, knowledge and practical experience and will be key influencers and leaders of genuine and sustainable change for women in the workplace,” Ms Upston says.

Council members are: Traci Houpapa (Chair), Chair of Landcorp and Federation of Maori Authorities; Norah Barlow, former Chief Executive of aged-care providers Summerset Holdings; Dr Andrew Cleland, Chief Executive of the Royal Society and former Chief Executive of the Institution of Professional Engineers; Tagaloatele Peggy Fairbairn-Dunlop, Professor of Pacific Studies at Auckland University of Technology; Theresa Gattung, co-founder of My Food Bag and former CE of Telecom; Kerry Prendergast, Chair of the Environmental Protection Agency and former Mayor of Wellington; Mark Verbiest, Chair of Spark; Katherine Rich, as CE of FGC, was nominated by Business NZ to be a representative.

Ms Upston said "these members are well-positioned to identify new opportunities for women and to influence businesses across New Zealand."

Mrs Rich says she was delighted to take on the job when approached.

“We need to do better. I know that in FMCG alone, women leaders are scarce. But rather than dwell on the poor numbers, I believe it’s more important to focus on how we can work hard to support younger women to stay in the industry – to help plug “the leaking pipeline” that PWC referred to in their 2007 report about women’s participation in leadership.

“FGC has already set wheels in motion in our industry by hosting a brilliant seminar on diversity earlier this year. That was our first event, and we are looking at boosting our mentoring scheme and adding further activities to inspire more women to reach for the top roles.”