418 companies with a combined market capitalization of USD16 Trillion and headquartered in 45 countries and regions are included in the 2022 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index (GEI), Bloomberg has this week announced. The GEI assists in transparency reporting on gender-related practices and policies at publicly-listed companies, developing environmental, social, governance (ESG) data available to investors.

An unprecedented number of companies have made their data available for this year’s GEI by using the GEI Framework, which represents a jump of 20% year on year. This portrays a growing commitment to gender equality and recognition that the global business community can lead the charge for meaningful change by committing to more transparent reporting and disclosure of social data.

“The changing nature of work due to the pandemic has highlighted the importance of addressing gender equality issues in a rapidly-evolving global workforce,” said Peter T. Grauer, Chairman of Bloomberg. “The Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index recognizes companies that are maintaining a strong focus on providing an inclusive work environment that supports the evolving needs of employees and retains the competitive strengths gained through gender diversity, which is increasingly critical in this challenging business environment.”

Companies are scored across five key pillars: female leadership and talent pipeline, equal pay and gender pay parity, inclusive culture, anti-sexual harassment policies, and pro-women brand by the GEI framework. There are also developed areas of data needed to support the broader goal of providing more detailed ESG data to investors. For example, GEI disclosure data now contributes to Bloomberg’s EEO-1 data including race and ethnicity demographics from U.S. firms that share this as part of their reporting requirements to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

The ability to measure, analyze, and track data over time in terms of disclosures is essential for companies as they develop and implement approaches for diversity and inclusion. The breadth and depth of data incorporated in calculating the GEI illustrates the impact that concerted gender-equality efforts can have in the workplace. The 2022 GEI Insights Report published this week, outlines examples such as work on corporate governance and culture, as noted in the GEI this year.

Closing the Gap

One aspect of growing activity entails work on diversity in the boardroom and among levels of the corporation. On average, GEI members’ boards are comprised of 31% women, and 72% of the member companies have a Chief Diversity Officer or an executive with the primary responsibility of diversity & inclusion. These companies have an average of 39% of women in revenue-producing roles and more than half (61%) require a gender-diverse slate of candidates for management positions.

“Today’s business leaders have the opportunity to drive progress on gender equality for years to come,” said Patricia Torres, Global Head of Bloomberg Sustainable Finance Solutions at Bloomberg. “The GEI framework helps companies assess their progress relative to their peers, and in relation to their own goals. In turn, the GEI data gives investors a comprehensive dataset to help evaluate how best practices in gender equity are contributing to company performance across a variety of factors.”

Culture of Inclusion

Another essential area involves the recruiting, hiring, and retention processes at member firms. On average, GEI members hire more women: 83% of these firms have a direct strategy for recruiting women, additionally 66% of them conduct global gender-based compensation reviews. These are also more likely to adopt family-friendly policies: for example, 75% of member companies offer on-site lactation rooms for new mothers and 59% of them provide childcare subsidies or other financial support.

“Programs, policies and practices are now table stakes, but lasting change comes from creating a culture of equality where everyone feels they belong – the accelerator of creating 360˚ Value for all stakeholders,” said Julie Sweet, Accenture Chair and CEO. “The GEI is a valuable tool that puts a spotlight on progress and opportunities to improve.”

Communities are also benefiting from inclusive corporate policies: more than half (63%) of member companies sponsor financial education programs for women, and 65% sponsor programs dedicated to educating women in STEM as this year’s GEI data shows.

About the GEI

The GEI’s standardized reporting framework provides investors the chance to compare how global companies are investing in women in the workplace, the supply chain, and the communities in which they operate. Submitting data by using the Bloomberg gender reporting framework is voluntary and has free of charge. The GEI is a reference index – not a financial benchmark. The index is not ranked. The firms included in this year’s index scored at or above an established benchmark by Bloomberg to reflect a high level of disclosure and overall performance across the framework’s five pillars. To learn more please visit the GEI website.

Access the list of companies included in the 2022 Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index.

Source: Yahoo Finance