Beyond the numbers, what does the index tell us — and investors — about a company’s priorities?
Increasingly, investors are attracted to companies that are both profitable and good corporate citizens. Gender inequality is one of the greatest global challenges, and inclusion in the index signals that a company is committed to being part of the solution. Investors also value transparency, so the fact that these companies are willing to voluntarily disclose data beyond what’s required in public filings sends a powerful message.
How do investors use the index along with other indicators of social responsibility?
Investors use the underlying data to compare company-level social data, measure operational risks, and screen for socially driven investment strategies. Investors have been using ESG factors to evaluate companies for years, but historically haven’t had access to transparent information indicating how a company stacks up with regard to gender equality. We built a standardized reporting tool that allows companies to measure and disclose this information in a way that could be integrated into fundamental equity data on the terminal.
What workplace changes have been prompted by this awareness?
These companies are taking a data-driven approach to their diversity strategy. I always say that without data, we’re really just guessing at progress. With data, we can better identify pain points, build targeted solutions, measure progress, and hold ourselves accountable. An example is flagship benefits like parental leave. More and more companies are rolling out global standards to ensure all employees have access to a supportive leave policy, rather than the market minimum. I think some companies didn’t realize how little leave some employees were given until they saw the data. We see companies using this data to benchmark against peers as well — we’re all in a war for talent and can’t afford to fall behind!
Will the 2020 index try to capture any new or different data?
Yes — in fact we just opened up our 2020 index framework submission process! This year, we are expanding the GEI eligibility universe to nearly 6,000 companies across 84 countries. The GEI framework is updated annually to reflect emerging best practices. For instance, we have partnered with the U.K. government to incorporate data points from their gender pay-gap metrics into the GEI. Our 2020 framework is based on five distinct key pillars to help companies and investors measure gender performance: female leadership and talent pipeline, equal pay and gender pay parity, sexual harassment policies, inclusive culture, and pro-women brand.
To learn more, visit: https://www.bloomberg.com/gei.