I am happy to report that with this blog, Women Business Collaborative (WBC) is reinstating our practice of regularly posting blogs. The blogs will offer facts, figures, and findings as well as opinions on progress and problems related to diversity, equity, and inclusion. To provide a cross-section of viewpoints, we will frequently invite WBC champions and experts in the DEI community to post.
This first blog is particularly appropriate for Black History Month. It highlights findings from WBC’s recently released Brief, Corporate Transparency in DEI Reporting. Self-reporting by companies is especially important in leveling the playing field for women of color. As companies become more open and straightforward about their successes and their shortcomings in attracting, retaining, and advancing women of color, equity and inclusion will likely gain a stronger foothold across the corporate landscape.
To get a snapshot of what companies are saying in terms of their commitment and progress in DEI, WBC in collaboration with Gender Fair and the University of New Haven Pompea College of Business, engaged in researching and creating this first-of-its-kind brief on what companies publicize about DEI. WBC and our partners collected and evaluated information about 553 companies from their DEI and ESG reports, EEO-1 data, and company websites. Our analysis focused on all the Fortune 500 companies and on 53 randomly selected public and private companies from other indices. The Brief highlights the key findings on how companies showcase their DEI work.
Significant Findings Impacting Women of Color
Corporate Transparency in DEI Reporting analyzed how companies self-reported across all key DEI areas, including what data is broken out by race, ethnicity, and other areas. There is some good news for women of color from the companies we researched. Of the 553 companies analyzed:
- 86% practiced non-discriminatory recruiting.
- 77% tracked employee diversity.
- 51% broke out data by gender and race (intersectional).
- 76% provide access to leadership development programs for women.
- 70% of CEOs made a public commitment to DEI.
- 58% have networks for women such as ERGs.
- 47% directly sourced talent from underrepresented groups.
Additionally, based on this analysis of what organizations are publicizing, we are seeing more practices that are in tune with the needs of diverse employees, including women of color.
- Proctor & Gamble: Practices strong gender balance in leadership, with women comprising 41% of executive leadership. 22% of the company is multicultural.
- Citi: Uses their significant corporate voice to advocate for social change—racial, pay equity, gun control, and immigration.
- Coca-Cola: Doubled their spending with minority-owned media companies. Their foundation enabled the economic empowerment of more than 6 million women.
- HP: Provides reverse mentoring on culture/DEI to board members and executives. Has a sponsorship program for women and underrepresented populations to increase their representation in technical and leadership roles.
Promising Signs…But a Long Way to Go
Corporate Transparency in DEI Reporting shows that companies are trending toward increased openness in reporting their DEI initiatives and practices. As a result, they are holding themselves accountable both internally and externally and are also providing benchmarks for others to adapt to their own organizations.
There is definitely cause for both optimism and activism. We must ensure continuing and accelerated progress for women of color. More companies of all sizes, across all industries, need to:
- Publish intersectional data and goals.
- Disaggregate the numbers to tell the whole story by breaking down data by demographic groups.
- Ensure employees have access to confidential ways to self-identify.
- Cultivate existing talent and promote more heavily from within, especially women of color.
- Leverage affiliate organizations and historically black colleges when externally recruiting.
With its unwavering commitment to DEI, WBC will continue to be at the forefront of monitoring not just what companies say they are doing for women of color but what they are actually doing and how they are doing it.
We look forward to a corporate landscape where recruiting, supporting, and advancing women of color is constantly on the rise!
Gwen K. Young
Chief Operating Officer