• September 26, 2021
 Op-Ed: Investing in women makes good business sense

Op-Ed: Investing in women makes good business sense

Diverse and inclusive workplaces are essential in meeting the needs of today’s diverse clients, communities and other key stakeholders.

Bank of America recognizes the significant role women play in advancing thriving economies – with women owning 37 percent of all businesses worldwide.

Unfortunately, in the United States, there is a stubborn disparity in both gender pay gaps and representation at the highest levels of organizational management.

The latest numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics show that women on average are paid 18% less than men’s median earnings.

In different industries, the pay gap differs, but in comparing men and women’s pay in similar occupations, women overall made less than men. This is why we continue to invest every day in helping women make meaningful contributions within our company and in their communities at large.

As a board member of both the YWCA El Paso Del Norte Region and Executive Forum, I have not only seen first-hand how women are moving the needle in El Paso, but also, how far we have yet to go. This past year, Bank of America made an even greater local investment in women by awarding Workforce Solutions Borderplex, and their “W.E. At Work” initiative our Neighborhood Champion.

Our support will play a critical role in helping them create more equality for women in the workplace, in part by helping support a new program called “Nailed It,” which creates access to training and resources for roles in traditionally male-dominated industries like plumbing and construction.

In sharing a snapshot of Bank of America’s efforts, a roadmap emerges that is illustrative of how to incorporate gender diversity and equality into all organizational work streams and priorities.

For starters, Bank of America’s current employee demographics shows that women make up 50 percent of our global workforce, 32 percent of our global management team, more than 40 percent of our managers and 35 percent of our board of directors – exceeding industry benchmarks.

So how did we get here? By bringing talented women to our company, investing in their career growth and providing a range of supportive benefits, while also supporting the economic empowerment of women in communities around the world.

As an example, the bank partners with more than 350 colleges and universities around the world to recruit diverse talent, and our most recent summer intern class was 47 percent female, and we have programs designed specifically to help engage, develop, retain and support our female talent across our company.

We believe an effective diversity and inclusion program goes beyond recruitment and development; it should also include progressive workplace policies and benefits so all employees feel supported in managing responsibilities at work and at home. For example, we offer 16 weeks paid parental maternity, paternity and adoption leave.

As a leader in financial services, Bank of America also supports women entrepreneurs with capital and resources to help them grow their businesses:

  • We partner with the Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program to provide access to affordable loans to grow their business in Texas through our partnership with PeopleFund.
  • We are a lead sponsor of the National Women’s Business Conference hosted by the National Association of Women Business Owners, working to propel women entrepreneurs into economic, social and political spheres of power.
  • With Girls Who Code, the bank offers a summer immersion program for high school-aged girls across the country and here in Texas to learn skills in digital technology and robotics and gain exposure to women engineers and entrepreneurs at the bank.

We’re proud of these investments, which have been noticed by Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies for 32 consecutive years, Fortune / Great Place to Work’s Best Workplaces for Women list and PEOPLE Magazine Companies that Care.

While the recognition underscores our commitment to a diverse workforce, the achievements directly reflect the dedication, effort it takes to make a positive and lasting impact on our company, and most importantly the clients and communities we serve.

Kristi Marcum

El Paso President, Bank of America

 

 

 

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