Financy CEO Bianca Hartge-Hazelman shares her story that led to the launch of Impacter and driving gender equality and DEI action.
I had a breakdown after the birth of my second daughter and remember it distinctly, much like the lyrics from Red Hot Chilli Peppers’s song, Under the Bridge: “I don’t ever want to feel… like I did that day.”
And that’s just it, I still never want to feel like I did that day and so ever since the rock in my entrepreneurial shoe has been about taking action to address my biggest fear: that inequalities will continue to hold back the most vulnerable in society, including my three daughters by the simple fact that they had been borne female.
My anxiety over the future of my girls had paralysed my mind into only thinking negative thoughts – day and night. Thankfully I found my way out of that hole by taking action through research and writing.
At the time I was a journalist with the Australian Financial Review, but had developed an obsession with researching the financial progress of women and indeed gender equality in the workplace.
Launching the Financy Website
That obsession soon led me to take a voluntary redundancy and before I knew it the following happened: I launched Financy as a blog website on women’s financial literacy, that grew into writing about gender financial equality inequalities, to measuring gender financial inequalities via the start of the Financy Women’s Index – which is a widely distributed economic report sent to media and government each quarter since 2017.
This journey made me realise that the pace of progress was simply not happening fast enough – 139 years to equality in Education and Earnings in Australia – no thanks! That’s according to the Women’s Index March 2023 report.
This frustration led to late nights doing a TAFE course to learn Microsoft Excel and developing a self-assessment tool for organisations to play a greater role in closing gender gaps across pay, leadership, employment and superannuation.
But like just about everything on this journey – the more I wrote and worked on that spreadsheet, the more incredible people and ideas I became drawn to. It became clear that the tool I needed to develop was something that improved not just gender equality in the workplace, but broad forms of diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace.
This work thankfully has allowed me to work with some incredible economic, business and academic minds – and this June we launched Impacter.
Impacter is a world first in that it enables businesses to measure and track their DEI position whilst being able to verify their results in a centralised and secure location. Impacter also helps to hold business leaders accountable and compliant with such things as gender pay gap reporting and other diversity considerations under the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012.
Business owners, HR managers, finance teams and diversity and inclusion (D&I) managers will be able to review their DEI initiatives, including measuring and tracking the gender pay gap, through scoring and evidence-based assessments on a quarterly basis. The software provides real-time data through a secure dashboard and recommends best practices for business planning and risk management when it comes to DEI.
My mission now is to not only help businesses improve – better and faster – but also clean up ‘DEI washing’ in Australia.
The goal is to prevent organisations from falsely claiming effective DEI initiatives by introducing a tool that can measure this and hold executives accountable for their actions.
Although well-intentional, many initiatives designed to improve workplace DEI often fail because measuring performance, and ensuring executives are held accountable for its success, is difficult. That is where Impacter can provide clarity.
Impacter was developed over an 18-month period in consultation with business experts and academics specialising in diversity, equity and inclusion, as well as tech company Tech For Good Group. Financy also partnered with the University of South Australia’s Centre for Workplace Excellence to set, test and review the Impacter assessments and unique scoring algorithms.
Find out more about Impacter here: https://financy.com.au/impacter/