6 of the biggest companies in the US that are best for women

Bill Pugliano/Getty ImagesGeneral Motors CEO Mary Barra has overseen the implementation of programs that foster leadership among women.
  • The billionaire investor Paul Tudor Jones cofounded the nonprofit Just Capital in 2013 to measure what Americans want from corporations and which of these companies are contributing to a “more just” society.
  • Just has looked at companies in the Russell 1000 that have done an internal pay equity analysis, foster leadership opportunities for women, and provide benefits to mothers.
  • Six companies stood out, and General Motors is particularly notable.
  • This post is part of Business Insider’s ongoing series on Better Capitalism.

America’s largest companies have a long way to go before they can achieve equal pay – the National Women’s Law Center reports American women make $US0.80 for men’s $US1.00 – but companies like General Motors and PepsiCo are making changes that pay women and men equally for the same work and foster pathways to higher-paying leadership positions.

The investor Paul Tudor Jones has a nonprofit called Just Capital that tracks how companies in the United States are creating long-term value instead of focusing solely on shareholders. It shared with Business Insider the results of a study of 875 companies in the Russell 1000 (excluding companies like real estate investment trusts that they could not measure like the others, and companies acquired in the last year) and found that only six of the largest companies in the US met the following criteria:

  • Has conducted a pay equity analysis (with the assumption it is working toward or has corrected for discrepancies)
  • Has policies and targets for diversity and equal opportunity
  • Has had no controversies around employment discrimination in the last three years
  • Has incurred no fines from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission in last three years
  • Provides flexible working hours and day-care services for employees
  • Has a board comprising at least 25% women

Just shared with us reasons why these six companies stood out.

General Motors — Automotive company based in Detroit, Michigan

• Last year GM CEO Mary Barra oversaw the launch of the Women in Action leadership development program. It has 6,700 members, including 600 men.

• Holds “boot camps” that educate employees on the company’s flexible work hours and parental leave policies to ensure employees use them.

• Has invested more than $US10 million in STEM education programs for girls in elementary through high schools across the US, with partners Code.org, Black Girls Code, Institute of Play, and Digital Promise.

• Half of its board of directors is composed of women.

PepsiCo —  Food and beverage company based in Purchase, New York

• PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi has overseen the expansion of work-life balance benefits, especially those for mothers. These include the creation of mothers’ rooms in facilities and daycare centres either on-site or nearby.

• Since its launch in 2011, the internal Pinnacle Group has selected “female sales associates with strong performance records and provides them with career development, leadership training, and mentoring opportunities with senior sales leaders.”

• Its Ready to Return 10-week paid internship program provides job training and the opportunity for a full-time job for people – particularly mothers – who have had an extended leave from the workforce.

Accenture —  Professional services company based in Dublin, Ireland

• Accenture announced in June 2017 it is working to have a 50-50 gender-balanced workforce by 2025. It currently has 170,000 women employees, accounting for 41% of its workforce. Last year, 45% of hires were women.

• Since its founding six years ago, 80% of women in the global executive leadership program have been promoted or had responsibilities “significantly expanded.”

• Women in Technology program puts women on a fast track to becoming technical architects, a “high-demand, short-supply role.”

• Working toward having 25% women managing directors by 2020.

Colgate-Palmolive — Consumer goods company based in New York City, New York

• 70% of women at Colgate-Palmolive participate in career counseling and 97% participate in management or leadership training.

• 41% of employees are women and 37% of its top 10% of earners are women.

• In 2016, 77% of women were able to adjust their schedules and 46% worked remotely full-time – both benefitting mothers.

Microsoft — Tech company based in Redmond, Washington

Has achieved equal pay between women and men for the same job titles and levels.

• The Women at Microsoft employee resource group runs a global conference for women employees and provides mentorship and STEM training to young girls through programs like GirlSpark, DigiGirlz Day, and High Tech Camps.

• The Women Think Next network connects women across the different sectors of the company to foster new career opportunities and internal mentorship.

• The Microsoft Research Women’s Fellowship Program provides women with $US20,000 fellowships to pursue graduate-level studies in computer science.

• Increased women in workforce from 25.8% to 27.3% in 2017, and is working toward better representation in an industry that has a notably low percentage of female employees.

Symantec — Software company based in Mountain View, California

• The Symantec Women’s Action Network builds connections among women at all levels of the company, with the intention of fostering leadership.

• Its Cyber Career Connection program provides young women and people of colour, who are underrepresented in the industry, with cybersecurity training to create a diverse talent pipeline.

• Is partnered with The Anita Borg Institute and TechWomen to provide mentorship, training, and networking to women in the cybersecurity industry.

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