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Editorial
How One Company is Getting Investors to Care About Gender Diversity
© Monkey Business / Adobe Stock
Samantha Samel
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Do most companies care about gender equality? Chances are the majority would say they do...but whether or not they take action toward improving the workplace for women is a different story.

One company, though, certainly takes its diversity efforts seriously. In fact, Bloomberg is so intent on advancing gender equality not only within its own workforce, but also among others, that it introduced a new product to hold companies accountable for demonstrating diversity. The goal of Bloomberg’s inaugural 2018 Gender Equality Index (GEI) is to provide more transparency and rank companies based on their commitment to gender diversity. It also helps provide a strong reminder that business rewards and improved financial performance come with diversity.

Launched on Monday (Jan. 22), Bloomberg’s GEI looks into employee policies, internal company statistics, external community support and engagement, and gender-conscious product offerings at 104 companies from various industries across 24 countries and regions, including Belgium, Chile, Greece, and Taiwan.

Bloomberg’s GEI is a helpful tool for investors, explains Kiersten Barnet, Deputy Chief of Staff to the Chairman at Bloomberg. “As investors continue to seek more information on companies’ approaches to environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors, the 2018 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index allows investors to compare companies’ commitments to gender equality across industries,” she says. “More data and greater transparency in this space will allow investors to make better-informed decisions and help companies better understand their own progress towards gender equality.”

The companies included in the index represent a broad range of sectors, including communications, consumer staples, energy, financials, materials and technology. Accenture, Bank of America, JPMorgan Chase & Co., PNC Financial Services Group, Banco Santander, Mastercard, Allianz, and American Express are among the companies that participated.

Like Bloomberg, the majority of the participating employers are focusing on the business case for a more diverse workforce; in effect, they’re making a concerted effort to improve the workplace for women. Firms that were interested in participating in the study submitted a social survey created by Bloomberg in partnership with third-party experts Catalyst, Women’s World Banking, Working Mother Media, National Women’s Law Center, and National Partnership for Women & Families.

Those included in the 2018 index scored at or above a global threshold established by Bloomberg to reflect disclosure and the achievement or adoption of best-in-class statistics and policies. For example, 65% of the GEI members are signatories to or members of organizations that advocate for gender equality, and 67% evaluate all advertising and marketing content for gender biases prior to publication. In addition, women in GEI member firms hold 26% of senior leadership positions, 19% of executive officer roles, and earned 46% of promotions in 2016.

Sheri Bronstein, Global HR Executive at Bank of America, explains why BoA is proud to be a GEI member; she notes that “the diversity of our company — women make up more than 50% of our global workforce, more than 40% of our global managers, more than 40% of our global management team and more than 35% of our board of directors — makes us a stronger company.”

Bronstein adds that BoA is “continuing to invest in acquiring and developing our female talent so they can continue to advance as leaders in our company, and in the communities they serve.”

Peter T. Grauer, Chairman of Bloomberg and Founding Chairman of the U.S. 30% Club — an organization that strives to create a more gender-balanced workforce by getting more women on boards — says that the 2018 GEI members’ leadership “sets an important example that will help all organizations innovate and navigate the growing demand for diverse and inclusive workplaces.” 

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