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Measuring Gender Equality Through An Index

There is good reason that so many forward-thinking companies disclose their diversity data: transparency is important, but so is measurement. Simply by measuring something, it becomes trackable, and something that can be improved.

The latest entrant in the measurement space is Bloomberg LP. Today, the financial information and media company launched the Bloomberg Financial Services Gender-Equality Index (BFGEI) which provides “investors and organizations with ‘standardized’ aggregate data across company gender statistics; employee policies; gender-conscious product offerings; and external community support and engagement.”

The index is not ranked and participants join by filling out a voluntary survey that is free of charge. Announced last year, the index is non-punitive, meaning that only those who score at or above a globally established benchmark (with a score of 60 points) were listed.

26 publicly-traded financial services firms were part of the BFGEI index. To qualify, the companies had to submit answers to a social survey designed by Bloomberg in partnership with other third-party experts such as Working Mother Media, Catalyst and Women’s World Banking. This survey included questions ranging from employment statistics, internal policies, women-friendly product offerings and public support of women.

As reported by Fortune, the BFGEI includes company such as J.P. Morgan Chase, Bank of America, MetLife, Visa, and Citigroup. These 26 firms all had a market capitalization of at least $15 billion and responded to 100% of the survey. In total, approximately 52 companies received the survey to start.

Though the BFGEI was motivated by investor interest, is is not the only initiative to measure companies on gender equality. Our friends at the BuyUp Index have created an app that helps you make purchasing decisions by rating everyday brands, products and the companies behind them. Their grades and ratings are based on 4 areas: female employees, women’s leadership, corporate citizenship and marketing.

Our friends at Working Mother Institute also have their annual “Top 100” list of companies for working moms, which operates on the basis of a large, proprietary survey of policies and employee data that is submitted annually by hundreds of employers. There is also the Pax Ellevate fund which comprises the highest-rated companies in the world as measured by the number of women in their executive management and boards. Finally, we ourselves also have compiled a list of top rated employers as measured by female employees’ self-reported opinions.

All of this movement to measure gender equality makes us optimistic that things are starting to really improve. Let’s keep the data coming!


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