Honoring Progress: The 2013 Gender Equality Practices
Thursday, January 30, 2014
8:30 am - 12:30 pm
SPUR Urban Center
654 Mission Street
On January 30, 2014, the Gender Equality Principles Initiative hosted “Honoring Progress: The 2013 Gender Equality Practices,” the first event in its 21st Century Workplace Series*. The forum was developed by the San Francisco Department on the Status of Women, its Gender Equality Council, and Calvert Investments, in partnership with the Bay Area Council and with support from the Institute for Women’s Leadership, and California Assemblymember Phil Ting.
“Honoring Progress” brought together more than 100 leaders in business, government, and academia for an in-depth conversation around the implementation and direction of gender-responsive workplace policies. The event focused on the 10 practices submitted to the Initiative’s Gender Equality Challenge. Challenge companies included: AT&T, Baker & McKenzie LLP, Bayer HealthCare, Charles Schwab & Co., Deloitte LLP, eBay Inc., Levi Strauss & Co. and Business for Social Responsibility, Symantec Corporation, and Twitter, Inc.
Dozens of companies participated on January 30, including representatives from all ten Challenge companies, the Gender Equality Council, and many more such as Morgan Stanley, AIG, Kimpton, Accenture, Woods Bagot, Perkins+Will, and Safeway. Also in attendance were staff members from the offices of House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi, Senator Barbara Boxer, Representative Jackie Speier, Assemblymember Phil Ting, The Representation Project, and the National Association of Women Business Owners.
Opening the event was Amy Ackerman, Commissioner of the San Francisco Commission on the Status of Women and member of the Gender Equality Council who spoke to the “novel idea” that was the impetus for the Gender Equality Principles Initiative. To change workplace culture in the private sector, the Department on the Status of Women sought to partner with major employers rather than impose new laws, ordinances, and mandates on the business community. The Department brought together leaders in business, non-profits, think tanks, and government to create the Initiative. In her opening remarks, Dr. Emily Murase, Executive Director of the Department on the Status of Women, emphasized that public-private gender partnerships, such as the Gender Equality Principles Initiative, are key to creating widespread culture change in the workplace.
Senator Barbara Boxer greeted participants with a video welcome, stressing the unique challenges that women face in succeeding in the workplace and at home. Senator Boxer called each attendee to action, saying that we can all get involved in the fight for gender equality in the workplace.
WHY AREN’T WE THERE YET?
While working women have not yet fully achieved equality, have women made any progress in the workplace? In her address entitled, “Why Aren’t We There Yet,” Barbara Krumsiek, Chair, President, and CEO of Calvert Investments, Inc. said that “Honoring Progress” answered that question with a resounding “yes.” In her 40 years in the workforce, primarily on Wall Street, Ms. Krumsiek has seen advancements in gender equality. However, she was quick to point out the slow progress in narrowing the gender wage gap and the face that women currently hold only 5% of CEO positions at Fortune 1000 companies, making women CEOs the exception rather than the rule. Clearly, women have not achieved parity with men. However, each of the participating companies has shown that working women are closer than ever before.
Ms. Krumsiek added that gender equity does not just benefit women, but also leads to greater success in business. Increased women on boards of directors has been linked to better stock performance, broader talent pools, and, according to the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business, greater success in sustainable business. As the CEO for a leading global investment company, Ms. Krumsiek added, “As investors we don’t seek out companies who are just looking in the rearview mirror, we want companies who are looking ahead.”
Implementing practices that support gender equality benefit employees and employers alike, and “Honoring Progress” was an opportunity for business leaders to turn learn from one-another and take action.
TRANSFORMATIVE 21ST CENTURY WORKPLACES
Ann Lehman, Senior Gender Advisor at the Department, moderated a panel of experts from each company including Cecily Joseph, Vice President of Corporate Responsibility, Symantec Corporation; Cynthia Jackson, Partner, Baker & McKenzie; Cree Scott, Consulting Program Manager; Deloitte LLP; Chantel Mandel, Director of Public Policy & Communications, Bayer HealthCare; Beth Axelrod, Senior Vice President of Human Resources, eBay Inc.; Cathy Campbell, Director of Diversity and Inclusion, Charles Schwab & Co.; Loretta Walker, Vice President of External Affairs, AT&T; Janet Van Hyusse, Head of Leadership Development and Inclusion, Twitter; and Anna Walker, Senior Director of Global Government Affairs, Levi Strauss & Co.
Each panelist described her company’s model practice, explaining the motivation for the practices, why it’s important to their corporate culture, the program’s success, as well as advice for organizations seeking to implement a similar program.
After the panel, event participants split into small groups facilitated by company representatives. The groups discussed the substance of each practice in detail, focusing on what it took to implement the program including the first steps to get the program off the ground and things that the representatives would do differently knowing what they know now.
If you are interested in learning about each of the model practices or adopting one at your organization, please click here.
COMMITTING TO PROGRESS
After the small group discussions, participants reconvened and Legislative Director Elizabeth Laferriere asked participants fill out a commitment card pledging to one concrete action they would take this year to advance gender equality in the workplace. Now the question is, what commitment will you make?
Follow the day's conversation and share your commitments on Twitter via #21stCWorkplace
Video of the day's presentations will be available soon. Please check back shortly!
A special thanks to Legislative Director Elizabeth Laferriere and Gender Equality Principles Program Coordinator Tara Gamboa-Eastman for their tireless efforts supporting the event. Additional thanks to Department staff members Grace Fisher, Minouche Kandel, Stephanie Nguyen, Carol Sacco, Cynthia Vasquez, and Iris Wong for their support.
Finally, we bid farewell to Ann Lehman, a key force behind the development of the Gender Equality Principles Initiative, as she moves on to pursue other opportunities. The Initiative is undergoing a major transition as a result, but we will keep you posted.