She goes on to write, “If you want to lift up humanity, empower women. It is the most comprehensive, pervasive, high-leverage investment you can make in human beings.”
This got me thinking about corporate investments in women. For years, diversity has been a core pillar of companies’ corporate responsibility strategies. This has meant stronger policies protecting women from sexual harassment in the workplace and creating family-friendly work cultures. These, of course, are good things.
But, lately, I am seeing examples of companies investing in programs and policies that go further, that truly empower and aim to lift women up. Here are three examples I particularly like.
In 2018, the women’s retail designers Ann Taylor, LOFT and Lou & Grey (all owned by Ascena Retail) fulfilled its goal of empowering 100,000 women in its global supply chain by providing health and financial literacy training.
- Gender aware by having the right information and data in place to inform policies.
- Gender active by having the right policies and practices in place that respect women’s rights and empower professional and personal development.
- The new norm by ensuring that harmful norms are not perpetuated through outdated business practices, while actively promoting more positive portrayals of women along the value chain to challenge stereotypes.