Intl. Women's Day 2016: Advances by companies & continuing challenges

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7 March 2016

UK: As gender pay gap persists, business & govt. are urged to do more to close it

"Gender pay gap: women earn £300,000 less than men over working life", 7 Mar 2016

Women are likely to earn £300,000 less than men over their working lives, according to a new analysis...

...[F]igures show a gap of £5,732, or 24%, in average full-time annual salaries between women and men – more than four decades after the Equal Pay Act of 1970 was introduced.

Katy Tanner, a director at Robert Half UK, said there were important lessons for employers as they increasingly report skills shortages.

"As in-demand candidates continue to be in the driver's seat, employers are needing to offer competitive remuneration and benefits packages above industry averages," she said...

...[T]he TUC general secretary, Frances O'Grady, said: "Far more must be done to tackle the UK's gender pay gap. We need more quality part-time jobs, better-paid fathers' leave and more free childcare from the end of maternity leave to help mothers get back to work after having children."...

A government spokesman said: "This government has gone further than ever before in tackling the gender pay gap. Only last month we unveiled a raft of measures requiring companies with more than 250 employees to publish their gender pay gap and we are extending that duty across the public sector.

"We are making progress with business towards the elimination of the gender pay gap..."...


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7 March 2016

Women cocoa farmers struggle with less pay, land and training compared with men

Author: Esther Han, Sydney Morning Herald

Women in the cocoa supply chains…are struggling every day with less pay, lack of land and tools, and exclusion from decision-making roles…Mars…Nestle…and Mondelez…was "moving in the right direction", Oxfam says they can do a whole lot more…[S]pokeswoman Kelly Dent says[…]"Twelve of the lowest-paying stages in cocoa production are reserved for women. The companies…need…to implement strong action plans." Ivory Coast…is among the world's worst countries for gender equality…Jeanne Kindo recalled the many years she farmed…excluded from training because she was a woman...Through Nestle's Cocoa Plan, she attended training sessions on leadership, agricultural business and gender equality. She nows leads the Bametioh…women's union…Mondelez says through its Cocoa Life program, it is…recognising women as producers and providing better access to credit and training in skills…Mars launched its Women's Empowerment Plan in mid-2015 in partnership with International Centre for Research on Women and Care International, which will…provide loans and access to finance for women…Oxfam says female farmers struggle to access credit because they do not own land…

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4 March 2016

In Fledgling Exchange-Traded Fund, Striking a Blow for Women

Author: Paul Sullivan, New York Times (USA)

State Street Global Advisors will introduce its 159th exchange-traded fund on Tuesday, the SPDR Gender Diversity Index E.T.F...SHE.

The fund's goal is to achieve market-rate returns by investing in United States companies that "are leaders in advancing women through gender diversity on their boards of directors and in management." It will track an index of 125 to 150 stocks that have been culled from the Russell 1000 index and have scored high on a scale of gender metrics.

"It's looking to create a way for investors to put money into companies that have figured out the diversity challenge — that have managed to recruit and retain women in senior leadership positions," said Kristi Mitchem, head of the Americas institutional client group at State Street. "We believe that signal has excess return."

The new fund is part of a wave of so-called impact investments — those made in companies, organizations and funds with the intention of generating a measurable, beneficial social and environmental impact. SHE is built on research from the McKinsey Global Institute; Catalyst, a nonprofit group focused on women's inclusion; and others that have shown the positive impact women have, or could have, on companies when they are in senior leadership.

What remains to be seen is how impact investors and the investing community more generally will receive the new E.T.F...

[Also refers to Barclays, Morgan Stanley]

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3 March 2016

The Best Thing Women Can Do to Close the Gender Pay Gap

Author: Valentina Zarya, Fortune (USA)

A new study by professional services firm Accenture found that, if we double the rate at which women become digitally fluent, developed countries could see workplace gender parity by 2040—or 25 years sooner than the current World Economic Forum estimates.

The analysis is based on a combination of existing country-level published data and a survey of 5,000 women and men in 31 countries about their use of technology and career advancement…

…The researchers also examined how digital fluency affects the advancement of women in each country across three main categories: education (preparing for work), employment (finding and keeping a job), and advancement (how quickly they rise through the ranks)…

Being tech savvy has a positive effect on women’s career prospects, and the benefits for women are even more profound than they are for men…

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4 February 2016

UAE: Banks aim to increase women leadership in sector by 10%

Author: Jamal Al Jassmi, Emirates Institute for Banking and Financial Studies, on Khaleej Times (UAE)

"Enhancing UAE women's leadership in banking, financial services", 31 Jan 2016

Today some 30 per cent of the UAE's women hold senior management positions and run their own enterprises in the country…Emirati women are increasingly pursuing technical and managerial occupations across all sectors of the service industry. Earlier considered a conventionally male dominated industry, the banking and the finance sector in the UAE is registering significant intake of Emirati women professionals as well. Currently, some 8,000 women account for almost 72 per cent of the UAE nationals in the banking workforce, and approximately 43 per cent of the total workforce overall…The UAE Banks Federation aims to strengthen the support for women in the sector and increase female leadership by at least 10 per cent. To increase Emirati participation and leadership in this sector, local and regional bank training initiatives such as Noor Bank's Coaching and Mentoring Development Programme provide both men and women nationals with training in leadership development and growth…

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28 January 2016

Barclays commits to gender equality & now employs more women than men

Author: Alanna Petroff, CNN Money (USA)

"Barclays employs more women than men", 22 Jan 2016

Barclays now employs more women than men, an impressive feat in an industry that men have traditionally dominated. New data released Friday shows the bank has 51% female and 49% male employees. However, the bank still has work to do. Men occupy nearly 80% of top jobs and board positions. The Barclays data was published in a joint report with nine other companies that have committed to achieving gender equality...Barclays said it was taking a series of measures each year to deal with gender inequality at the top of the bank. The goal is to fill 26% of senior leadership jobs with women by 2018. The company expects that more than one third of board positions will be held by women by 2020. [Also refers to Tupperware, Twitter, Unilever, Vodafone]

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