by Aimee King
|Image Credit Pixabay|
While some countries, such as Iceland and Finland, have managed to significantly close their gender gaps, others are lagging behind. For instance, the UK has dropped six places on the WEF Global Gender Gap Index since the 2013 report, coming in 26th on the list of most gender equal societies. Meanwhile, in the US, women only earn about 78 cents to a man’s dollar—a number that is even lower for those females who are black or Latina, as reported by CNN.
In order to effect change for women across the globe, many corporations and individuals are addressing gender inequality in various ways, whether it be within their own business or beyond the walls of the workplace. Here are several companies who are working to combat gender stereotypes by promoting equality through their products, wages, and initiatives.
Marc Benioff, CEO of the US cloud-based software company, made news recently when he announced he would be examining the salaries of all 16,000 Salesforce employees to make sure both men and women are being compensated fairly. He’s already given some women raises after finding differences in their pay but expects to hand out more, according to Financial Post. Benioff said that by the time the process is complete, there would no longer be a pay gap. He added, “My job is to make sure that women are treated 100 percent equally at Salesforce in pay, opportunity and advancement.”
Founded in 2011 by fashion veteran Kate Pietrasik (who had previously designed for brands such as Hilfiger and Roxy), this company was born out of a direct response to gender stereotypes. Upon moving to England, Pietrasik was disappointed to find that any sort of fashionable children's clothing featured in stores was usually segregated by gender. Taking things into her own hands, she launched Tootsa, a brand that focuses on creating pieces that are “bright and cheerful and as colorful as a paintbox” rather than those that are geared toward only boys or girls. In the short time since its inception, the clothing company has expanded to include an adult collection as well. They now offer knitwear that can be worn at any age and by any gender.
In 2004, the US investment company launched the Calvert Women’s Principles (CWP), the first global code of corporate conduct focused exclusively on empowering, advancing, and investing in women. Designed to provide companies with specific, measurable goals for achieving gender equality in areas such as pay, hiring, and career development, CWP offers corporations a set of standards against which they can assess and improve their performance toward women’s empowerment.
This past June, L’Oreal Canada received EDGE (Economic Dividends for Gender Equality) “MOVE” Certification, becoming the first company in Canada, as well as the first subsidiary of the L’Oreal Group, to do so. The goal of the EDGE assessment and certification process is to create a balanced workplace for both men and women, enabling companies to accurately reflect on how they are performing at both a country and global level. During the certification process, L’Oreal’s gender policies and practices were thoroughly reviewed and more than 700 employees were surveyed on gender equality in regards to company culture, compensation, promotion, leadership roles, and flexible work environment. Marjolaine Rompre, Director of Learning and Diversity at L’Oreal Canada noted the company’s delight at receiving EDGE Certification, adding that “diversity and equality has always been at the heart of L’Oréal Canada’s values. We are extremely proud of having attained the “MOVE” level of certification and are committed to implementing innovative solutions to further develop gender equality.”
Think, Act, Report Campaign
Since its launch in September of 2011, the Think, Act, Report (TAR) campaign has garnered the support of over 140 major companies, including IBM, Tesco, BP, GlaxoSmithKline, and many more. Introduced by the UK government in order to help close the gender gap, the initiative encourages companies to think about gender equality, take action to promote opportunities in their workplaces, and report on what they are doing. Nearly half of the participating companies have completed an equal pay audit in the last year, and 66 percent are doing more to encourage female talent within their company. Such actions include introducing mentoring and sponsorship schemes, putting in place targeted development programs, and encouraging women to take high-profile jobs.
|Aimee King - Freelance|
Aimee King is a freelance writer with an interest in gaming, women's health and gender equality. When she's not writing you can find her hiking with her dogs or reading. She resides in the Pacific Northwest. Twitter @AmieeDKing