gender equality

Championing gender equality and diversity is an important part of helping our members achieve a better retirement. HESTA champions gender equality through supporting financial equity for members, advocacy, and through our responsible investment practices.





why we do this


Gender inequality has direct and indirect impacts on the economy, our investment portfolio, and on the retirement outcomes of our members, around 80% of whom are women.

Women face a range of barriers to economic participation throughout their working lives, which results in women retiring with less super than men on average.

We advocate for changes that will improve women’s financial security and help facilitate their equal participation in the economy. Championing gender equality and diversity, and challenging discriminatory gender norms are important areas of change to help our members achieve a better retirement.

HESTA understands that adding a gender lens to investment activities can support strong economic growth, greater investment returns and positive financial outcomes for members.




how we do this



1. Advocating with influence

Around 80% of HESTA members are women. HESTA advocates for law change that will improve super outcomes for women.

  • HESTA is calling on the Federal Government to pay superannuation on Commonwealth paid parental leave. Our research shows that making this change would deliver 4.5% in additional super savings at retirement for a HESTA member with three children working in the early childhood education and care sector.

  • HESTA is actively involved in public policy debates that affect our members.  
    View our submissions on gender equality

    Our success stories

    • Scrapping the $450 super threshold: HESTA had advocated for many years to scrap the $450 super threshold and welcomed the passing of legislation as an important step in improving financial security for women
    • Super Splitting: HESTA was an early adopter of the Simpler Super Splitting initiative, which simplifies the process of splitting superannuation through family law settlements. This simplified process goes a long way towards ensuring equity in super outcomes when relationships end.

    International Women's Day 2022 policy statement (pdf)


    2. Gender equity in investments

    We understand that adding a gender lens to our investment activities and decisions can support greater financial returns and reduce the risks associated with systemic inequality.

    Gender inequality is material to company performance and financial outcomes. We know that companies who embrace inclusive workplace cultures and diverse leadership are better performing companies who produce greater return on investment.  

    How we embed gender equality in our responsible investment activities: 

    40:40 Vision 

    40:40 Vision is an initiative led by HESTA and supported by industry partners which seeks to achieve gender diversity in ASX300 executive teams by 2030. 40:40 is defined as at least 40% identifying as women, 40% identifying as men and 20% identifying as any gender. 

    40:40 Vision is supported by industry partners including the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, 30% Club, Chief Executive Women and the Australian Council of Superannuation Investors (ACSI). 

    Learn more about 40:40 Vision



    3. Values-aligned investment partners

    Since 2018 HESTA has been biennially surveying our investment managers on gender diversity within the teams of investment professionals managing our members capital. 

    Pleasingly, momentum is heading in the right direction, with a 5% increase in the number of women employed across HESTA’s investment partners between 2018 and 2020. HESTA believes in the value of diverse teams and will continue to promote gender equality across our investment value chain. 


    4. Voting

    We believe good governance relies on having diversity of thought around the decision-making table, including gender diversity. As a member of the 30% Club, we believe at least 30% of ASX board director positions should be occupied by women. On a case-by-case basis, HESTA may vote against companies who have poor gender diversity and cannot demonstrate progress towards this goal. 

    In addition to voting, HESTA regularly engages companies within our portfolio on a number of key gender equality issues, including culture and workplace safety.

    See our voting report (pdf)





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