Vertically integrated construction company Rhodes PNG Ltd has embarked on an ambitious gender equality program which it believes will position it as an employer of choice for PNG women.
Rhodes Managing Director, Emanuel Papas, says that his company has “both a moral and business imperative” for wanting to recruit, develop, promote and retain more female employees. “We have long been advocating for the rights of women within our workplaces and we employ as many women as we can, including in non-traditional roles such as electricians and forklift drivers. Not only is gender equality the right thing for Rhodes to do but given the lack of skilled workers in PNG combined with the impressive talent of many of the women we currently employ, it is most definitely the smart thing to do.”
In June, Rhodes signed a contract for workplace gender advisory services with the International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group. The IFC will provide specialised technical advice on how Rhodes can maximise opportunities for women in its workforce, become an employer of choice for women and men, and prepare it for the world’s leading workplace gender equality certification – the Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) certification www.edge-cert.org. No other construction company in the world has achieved EDGE Certification although numerous other industries are represented by global brands such as IKEA, Roche, Marriott and Pfizer.
Papas is proud to point out that Rhodes are further demonstrating their gender equality leadership via the Business Coalition for Women. Rhodes are represented on the BCFW Board and its Addressing Violence working group by Dr Linda Van Leeuwen and one of their most senior female staff members, Property Development Manager, Kulu Velena has recently graduated from its Leadership program. Rhodes are keen to support the BCFW in other ways such as developing tools to help businesses recruit more women into non-traditional roles such as those available in the construction and extractives sectors.
In addition to supporting women in their workplaces, Rhodes also supports women in the numerous footprint communities in which they build. Rhodes community engagement staff conduct health and education awareness programs on topics such as gender violence, and where possible, they utilise the services of women owned businesses in their supply chains.