Business Leaders on the Value of the Bloomberg GEI

By Kiersten Barnet, Manager, Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index
Feb 4, 2019 4:40 PM ET

Business Leaders on the Value of the Bloomberg GEI

This month, Bloomberg released the 2019 Gender-Equality Index (GEI), which includes 230 companies across industries that are committed to transparency in gender reporting and promoting equality. In my role as the head of the Index, I have had the opportunity to connect with business leaders from many of these organizations and gain a stronger insight into why companies report gender data and the value in participating. Below are a few highlights from my conversations with CEOs across the globe on the impact the Bloomberg GEI has had on their organizations.

Highlighting best in class corporate policies

The gender reporting framework assesses a wide range of corporate policies that look past top-line metrics and into the policies that affect all stakeholders of the firm. For instance, Bloomberg GEI companies in the U.S. offer an average of 13 weeks fully-paid primary parental leave and 5 weeks for secondary leave. Creating a corporate environment that values its parents and families is a key component highlighted by several business leaders. As Clorox Chair and CEO Benno Dorer explains, “I’m passionate about being CEO, but I’m also passionate about being a father of two kids. I want to be there when my kids practice and I want to see their games and I want to go to school events. Having more flexibility is something that both women and men want, and I am a good example of that.”

Through the Bloomberg GEI and reporting framework, companies are able to highlight these policies and help move the needle on corporate policies that promote gender equality. Brian Moynihan, Chairman and CEO of Bank of America, shares how this is important in his firm saying, “If you’re going to be the best place for teammates to work, you want them to feel that. They feel that by the traditional measures — pay, and pay-for-performance, and promotions – and by having a diverse and inclusive workplace, and a benefits package that allows them to live their life and be successful at work at the same time.”

Promoting transparency

Companies included in the Bloomberg GEI also show a strong commitment to reporting these metrics, in addition to highlighting their best-in-class policies. This is important not only to promote transparency in their firms, but also to act as leaders across their respective industries. We are in a climate where transparent policies surrounding compensation is becoming increasingly important across the globe. This past year, the Bloomberg GEI partnered with the British government to align reporting metrics with the nation’s reporting mandate. And recently, Citi, a 2019 GEI company, also released a report detailing a wide range of metrics relating to compensation to demonstrate their commitment to improving these figures.

As Jan Zijderveld, CEO of Avon Products explains, “I fundamentally believe in equal pay for equal work. That’s one of those simple things. You do the same work, you should be paid the same thing. How could anyone not believe in that?” In the 2019 Index, we can see that while progress has been made to narrow the gender pay gap, there is still a ways to go, with 60% of firms conducting compensation reviews to identify gender-based variations in efforts to close their average 20% pay gap. By conducting reviews and committing to public transparency, these companies are showing how corporate responsibility can work to close this gap.

Data for good

Companies in the Bloomberg GEI see their inclusion as a public commitment to sound corporate governance – a necessary business practice in the world today. As investors, consumers and potential employees increasingly value diversity, it has become a business imperative.  As Susan Story, President and CEO of American Water has said, “If you don’t reflect your communities, if you don’t reflect the customers you serve, you’re not going to be optimizing your business performance.”

Through the ongoing initiatives of these 230 companies, and their public commitment to being transparent with their data, these organizations are showing the value of promoting women in their leadership teams, across their companies, and in the communities they ultimately serve.

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