Manulife, Aurora Cannabis, RBC among companies excelling in gender equality: report

'Public disclosure of gender-related data enables companies to further their industry’s approach to diversity and inclusion'

Manulife, Aurora Cannabis, RBC among companies excelling in gender equality: report
The Aurora Cannabis greenhouse in Edmonton.

Canadian companies Manulife Financial, Aurora Cannabis and the Royal Bank of Canada made it to Bloomberg’s 2020 Gender-Equality Index (GEI), which tracks the financial performance of public companies committed to supporting gender equality.

The GEI measures gender equality across five pillars: female leadership and talent pipeline, equal pay and gender pay parity, inclusive culture, sexual harassment policies, and pro-women brand. The firms included in this year’s index scored at or above a global threshold established by Bloomberg to reflect a high level of disclosure and overall performance across the framework’s five pillars.

The National Bank of Canada and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce also made it to the list, joining 325 companies across 42 countries and regions in the index that measures companies’ gender-equality efforts through policy development, representation and transparency. Last year’s list included 230 companies across 36 countries and regions.

“This level of transparency into how companies are tackling gender equality in the workplace and their local communities is fuelling financial decision-making around the world, and is supporting the business case for an inclusive corporate environment,” says Peter Grauer, chairman of Bloomberg.

For the first time, firms headquartered in the Czech Republic, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland and Russia are reporting gender-related data, says Bloomberg. The full index is available here.

Women in the workplace
Among the 325 companies, 82 per cent say a woman will likely remain employed at the firm following parental leave, 69 per cent reported the availability of on-site lactation rooms and 64 per cent reported sponsorships of STEM education programs for women.

Companies led by a female CEO reported having more women in senior management positions than companies with a male CEO. Female-led organizations also had more women in the top 10 per cent of compensation than male-led firms, and more women in revenue-producing roles, according to the index.

Nearly seven in 10 (67 per cent) of firms with a chief diversity officer (CDO) are also likely to require a diverse slate of candidates for management positions, compared to 31 per cent of firms without a CDO.

Nearly four in 10 (39 per cent) of firms in the GEI have public targets to increase female leadership while 16 per cent have announced public plans on how they plan to close the pay wage gap.

“While there is still a long way to go for gender parity in the workplace, public disclosure of gender-related data enables companies to share best practices and further their industry’s approach to diversity and inclusion,” says Lorraine Hariton, president and CEO of Catalyst, a nonprofit that works towards progress for women at work.

Gender discrimination is the biggest obstacle preventing more women in leadership roles in Canadian companies, according to a Randstad Canada survey. And it will take 99.5 years to close the gender gap, according to the Global Gender Gap Report 2020 by the World Economic Forum.

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