A New Business Tool Means Good News for Gender Equality

bloombergEarlier this week Bloomberg announced the launch of the Bloomberg Financial Services Gender-Equality Index (BFGEI), which measures company gender statistics, employee policies, gender-conscious products, and external community engagement and support.  NWLC’s staff were among the third-party experts that advised Bloomberg as they developed the index, and is delighted to see data making the business case for advancing workplace equality at major companies.  The Center’s lifetime wage gap data, demonstrating that the wage gap will cost the average U.S. woman more than $430,000 over the course of her career, were featured in the launch materials and covered by Bloomberg.
My colleague Emily Martin, NWLC’s Vice President for Workplace Justice, and I attended the launch event, along with NWLC Board member Jonathan Knee, Professor of Business Practice at Columbia Business School and Senior Advisor at Evercore Partners.  All three of us were struck by Michael Bloomberg’s comments that advancing workplace equality is “not just the right thing to do, it’s smart business,” and the data-driven approach to proving this is true.
Panelist Joseph Keefe, President and CEO of Pax World Fund Management and Pax Ellevate Management LLC, commented that companies that the data are “beyond compelling – they are overwhelming,” showing that more diverse companies make better decisions and improve their bottom line. He and his fellow panelists asserted that the two fastest-growing demographic groups, millennials and women, are driving this change by insisting that the companies in which they invest, for which they work, and with which they do business align with their values.
Here at the Center we are exploring ways to collaborate more closely with the business community to advance workplace equality, with a special focus on closing the wage gap.  We aren’t surprised that longtime Center supporters like JPMorgan Chase & Co. are among the 26 financial services firms included in the inaugural class of the BFGEI, and we couldn’t be more pleased that companies like Bloomberg see business value in bringing clarity and awareness to gender-equality efforts within a powerful sector like financial services.