Taking a Stand: Sodexo's Commitment to End Gender-Based Violence

About the author : Brand & Communications
Published on : 11/20/23
Reading time : 5 min
  • More voices are driving important conversations around violence against women—and the experience of women in male-dominated industries—especially in the Energy & Resources sector.

    Sodexo IUF.jpgFollowing the AHRC Respect@Work Commission and 2022 WA inquiry into Sexual Harassment Against Women in the Mining Industry, colloquially the ‘Enough is Enough’ report, the traction gained has been tangible, measurable, and most importantly, driven by a groundswell of support to challenge unacceptable norms.

    November 25th marks the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women and heralds the start of 16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence ending on World Human Rights Day on 10 December. It embodies a strong message: gender-based violence is a violation of human rights. That is why Sodexo and the IUF (International Union of Food, Agriculture, Hotel, Restaurant, Catering, Tobacco, and Allied Workers’ Association) have developed and implemented guidelines for workplace policies and procedures. The guidelines require continuous due diligence to prevent and redress any actual or potential adverse impacts on the human rights of workers.

    Sodexo welcomes the involvement of the IUF in establishing its commitments and in sharing best practice, raising awareness and monitoring progress. At Sodexo, there is zero tolerance of gender-based violence and harassment. This strong stance extends beyond mere policy—it is woven in our very ethos. Sodexo has also instituted initiatives and programs designed to address the impact of gender balance and inequality, a precursor to gender-based violence and discrimination. Bolstering our fight against gendered violence and discrimination, we take a collaborative approach with clients, industry stakeholders and ‘best practice’ bodies—such as AREEA, CME, and SaferTogether. Beyond meeting legal requirements, businesses have a tremendous opportunity to help shift social norms.

    Living our values:

    Sodexo's approach towards creating psychologically safe and healthy workplaces is rooted in its longstanding commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion. We've cultivated a diverse workforce representing the cultures, backgrounds, and perspectives within the communities we serve, who embody our spirit of inclusion and teamwork. Building a culture of safety and trust promotes psychological safety to communicate openly, challenge the status quo, and report incidents when they occur.

    Getting the balance right:

    Embedding gender equality across workplace structures, policies, and practices can have a significant impact. Since 2009, Sodexo’s SoTogether gender network and gender equality strategy has been striving to develop and advance women to reach their full potential and drive gender-balanced teams (40-60%) at all levels of the organisation. Initiatives such as Sodexo’s SheLeads coaching program and the Women in Mining and Resources Queensland mentoring program help build a strong leadership talent pipeline.

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    Full and equal participation:

    To help close the workforce participation and gender pay gap, Sodexo offers gender-neutral parental leave provisions and flexible work to encourage greater participation of men in caregiving roles. Partnering with GracePapers, Sodexo initiated a Keeping in Touch program to reconnect with parental leavers and support new parents in returning to work. Sodexo has also achieved Family Inclusive Workplace certification, a joint initiative of Parents at Work and UNICEF Australia. The accreditation underscores the efficacy of Sodexo's gender-equitable policies and initiatives.

    Setting the standard:

    We strive to lead by example — Managing Director, Keith Weston and Sodexo’s country leadership team commit to diverse, equal, and respectful workplaces backed by adequate resources and action for awareness and education. Training is one of the most important tools that can change workplace culture and perceptions to establish practical initiatives that reduce gender-based violence and sexual harassment. HR and HSE Advisors receive training in trauma-informed responses, while managers and supervisors receive tailored training through mixed training methodologies such as face-to-face workshops, interactive bystander action training, and eLearning programs to build their capacity to support and manage their teams. Continuous education and initiatives, such as Sodexo’s Spirit of Inclusion training and Reflect Respect campaign, provide all employees with the awareness, tools, and support to mitigate sexual harassment and victimisation in the workplace.

    Reporting and responding: digital_s_295_AUSTRALIA_CSP260417_0083.JPG

    Addressing gender-based violence doesn't stop at prevention. Appropriate reporting mechanisms, processes of investigation and support systems are in place to support those affected. Sodexo is committed to creating an environment where all employees feel safe to speak up or report incidents without fear of retribution or stigma. Sodexo is also committed to supporting employees affected by domestic and family violence, providing 5 days of paid “safe leave” per year while providing confidential and holistic support.

    No single policy will be the ‘silver bullet’, as effective actions must be iterative, well informed and framed by continuous learning. Going beyond compliance, we know that ongoing vigilance, sharing and learning will be key to ensuring workplaces are safe, respectful, and inclusive environments for all employees.

    As a company deeply invested in supporting social justice and ensuring the safety of all employees, Sodexo passionately advocates for gender equality and the eradication of gendered violence in all its forms.

    For further information on our approach to DE&I, read more here: Diversity, Equity & Inclusion

    Family and domestic violence support services:

    • 1800 Respect National Helpline: 1800 737 732
    • Women's Crisis Line: 1800 811 811
    • Men's Referral Service: 1300 766 491
    • Mensline: 1300 789 978
    • Lifeline: 131 114
    Contact us > Open sharing and other actions