The awards were presented by the Women’s Empowerment Principles New Zealand, established by UN Women and the United Nations Global Compact Office.
The awards recognize organizations that take positive action to ensure that workplaces are fair, equal and provide opportunities for all to succeed, as well as organizations that have made progress in implementing the Seven Principles of Women’s Empowerment. .
These principles were: establishing high level corporate leadership for gender equality; treat all women and men fairly at work – respect and support human rights and non-discrimination; ensure the health, safety and well-being of all workers, women and men; promote the education, training and professional development of women; implement business development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women; promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy; and measure and publicly report on progress towards achieving gender equality.
Firebrand founder Bex Twemlow said the award was “massive recognition for all small businesses with wahine at the heart and soul of their being”.
“ I knew Firebrand was special and I knew our modern, progressive and fierce female focus was the right thing to do and being recognized by WEPS for it only strengthens our resolve even more.
“We are a stronger organization, able to do great things for everyone because we treat people fairly and without any tolerated discrimination,” Ms. Twemlow said.
The journey to continue to further incorporate the Seven Principles of WEPS into Firebrand, their lives and their community has never been finished, she said.
Ms Twemlow said all companies should be able to apply for the awards if they run an organization with fairness, kindness and caring for the people at the heart of their business.
No one was ever 100%, but providing equal opportunities and non-discrimination was simple enough to achieve, as was creating a healthy and safe environment free from violence and discrimination.
There was a real need for organizations like Firebrand to make sure their message was appropriate and inclusive – “and looks like 2022, not 1984” – and represents what their community looked like.
At 12, Firebrand was now able to choose not to work on certain projects that did not match his values.
Ms Twemlow has worked hard on community leadership and engagement, saying that young people “coming up through the ranks” needed to see there was a place for them. Early in her career, she felt there was nowhere for her, but she had a personality that allowed her to find a place at the table.
There was no difficulty in recruiting talent to work at Firebrand; at the moment, she was having a hard time choosing interns. She interviewed 60 people several weeks ago for four internship positions and was now trying to figure out how to recruit two more.