To kick off International Women’s Day, Nasdaq led exchanges worldwide in ringing the bell for gender equality alongside UN Women. We invited thought leaders from the tech and finance industries to talk about leveling the playing field for men and women by closing the wage and opportunity gaps through actionable steps.
As Nasdaq President and Chief Executive Officer Adena Friedman noted, 2020 is a pivotal year for gender equality. It marks the 10th anniversary of the creation of UN Women and the Women’s Empowerment Principles.
“While there is a lot to celebrate, we must not forget that there is still a lot of work to do to truly achieve equality for all,” Friedman said. “As a Women’s Empowerment Principles signatory, Nasdaq strongly believes that women’s empowerment is a critical pillar of business value creation, global sustainability, and is essential to creating global, prosperous economies.”
Nearly 3,000 companies have signed onto the WEPs, including Nasdaq. When companies endorse the principles, they are signing on to:
- Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality
- Treat all women and men fairly at work and support nondiscrimination
- Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers
- Promote education, training and professional development for women
- Introduce practices that empower women
- Promote equality through advocacy and community initiatives
- Report on progress towards gender equality
C-level executives and advocates took the stage to talk about ways that modern-day organizations are stepping and moving the needle toward more equitable work and marketplaces.
Nonni Purnomo, CEO of Bluebird, stressed the importance of instilling equal respect before equal opportunity in the workplace and beyond.
Meanwhile, Nasdaq’s Global Chief Legal and Regulatory Officer John Zecca and Josh Levs, entrepreneur and former CNN journalist, emphasized the importance of talking about parenthood for both men and women.
Former “The View” co-host and Principal of Instant Impact Group Star Jones delivered a powerful keynote on the importance of diversity and inclusion. Women make almost half of the workforce, but only make up 22% of S&P 500 corporate boards and just 5% of CEOs. Jones made the case that diversity is not only the right thing to do – it is good for the bottom line. Studies in recent years have shown that more diverse C-suites are more profitable and reach higher margins.
“Diversity, equity and inclusion are not just the right things to do, it’s the business-savvy and smart thing to do,” Jones said.
Jones explained that good corporate decision-making comes from being able to listen to different points of view. This is why hiring diverse talent, retaining them and encouraging them to bring their whole selves to work is important, she said. It also comes from equal compensation in the workplace.
“Women’s empowerment starts with the foundation of equal pay for equal work,” Jones said in a Nasdaq LinkedIn Live interview. “When we get to equal pay for equal work, then we get to equal decisions in that boardroom.”