International Women’s Day: Stories of Progress from EDGE Certified Organizations

Posted on March 8th, 2021

Every year on the 8th of March, the world celebrates the social, economic, cultural, and political achievements of women. This is a unique moment to be proud of what has been achieved so far and inspire bold action to continue accelerating progress towards workplace equity and inclusion.

 And there is no better way to inspire such bold action than to put the spotlight on the organizations who are doing it. We asked IKEA Switzerland, International Flavors & Fragrances, L’Oréal, Capgemini, Pictet, Dow Switzerland, Time’s Up and the European Central Bank two questions. Read their stories.

IKEA Switzerland

Why is now the time to act on gender equality in the workplace?

“Together we need to join forces around equality and inclusion, it is the human right and it is essential to leverage on the full human potential and by that sustainable development. It is more important than ever to reflect the diversity of society and strive for a 50/50 women and men in all levels and functions.” 

As a leader who has taken concrete steps towards gender equality, how does EDGE Certification support your organization in its journey?

“In 2015, IKEA was the first and only company in the world that reached the highest level of this certification and since then IKEA has been recertified with EDGE Lead every second year. We are very proud of this. The EDGE certification, as one of different actions IKEA took, has contributed in our journey towards gender equality. More specifically, the fact that an external and objective evaluation takes place every second year, gives the result a greater degree of reliability and credibility.”

Jessica Anderen, Country Retail Manager and CSO for IKEA Switzerland

International Flavors & Fragrances

Why is now the time to act on gender equality in the workplace?

“Gender Equality is not just the right thing to do for a better society, it is a business imperative. Change does not just happen, we must take intentional proactive actions to accelerate our journey to gender parity.”

As a leader who has taken concrete steps towards gender equality, how did EDGE Certification support your organization in its journey?

“The EDGE Methodology & Certification sets a high bar and challenged IFF to reach the standards that we’d aspired to achieve on our journey to equality. Their roadmap provided us with concrete steps on how to drive changes in our workplace that helped to close gaps on gender parity in a shorter amount of time.”

Andreas Fibig, Chairman & CEO International Flavors & Fragrances

L’Oréal

Why is now the time to act on gender equality in the workplace?

“Working for Gender equality requires action every day: immediate and long-term. We are more convinced than ever that fostering a welcoming and supportive workplace for people of all genders adds value, boosts performance and powers innovation. At L’Oréal, we have been strongly and proactively committed to Diversity & Inclusion, more broadly, and, specifically, to gender equity for more than 15 years. These commitments are central to our business approach and Sense of Purpose.”

As a leader who has taken concrete steps towards gender equality, how does EDGE Certification support your organization in its journey?

“We know that our commitment to gender equality needs tangible measurements, in order to monitor our progress and identify where we can continue to improve. In this regard, EDGE plays a valuable role with an in-depth assessment of our gender inclusivity, which is essential to determine how to go even further.”

Jean-Paul Agon, L’Oreal Chairman and Chief Executive Officer

Capgemini

Why is now the time to act on gender equality in the workplace?

“As a diverse team of 270,000 people spread across 50 countries, we understand the power of inclusion, and our commitment to building this future has never been stronger.  We know the pandemic has had an enhanced impact on women, and we have renewed our efforts to challenge existing ways of working, biases and stereotypes. As a result, the past year has shown a strong improvement in our gender balance; we are proud to say it has progressed like never before. But it is only the beginning of the journey : it’s time to act now.”

Aiman Ezzat – CEO Capgemini

As a leader who has taken concrete steps towards gender equality, how does EDGE Certification support your organization in its journey?

“Currently, Capgemini is EDGE certified in eight countries: Brazil, Canada, France, India, Morocco, Netherlands, United Kingdom and the United States. The process provided by EDGE allowed us to create a benchmark against our competitors and really examine where  we had successes and opportunities to improve. The recommendations provided by EDGE helped us elevate conversations and create better strategies that get to the root cause of how to grow gender balance across levels. In the US, we transitioned from a broad approach to a strategic focus on actions that would accelerate impact.”

Janet P. Pope – North America CSR Director Capgemini

Pictet

Why is now the time to act on gender equality in the workplace?

The core purpose of Pictet is to build responsible partnerships – with the companies in which we invest and with our clients, colleagues and communities. It is part of our duty as a responsible employer to lead in building an equitable world devoid of biases and discrimination. While it takes time to catch up on years of imbalance, with the global realization of how widespread and common gender discrimination still is, there is currently a formidable momentum for change. There has never been a more urgent moment than now to proactively and consciously support women in their career development.

As a leader who has taken concrete steps towards gender equality, how did EDGE Certification support your organization in its journey?

The EDGE framework provides a valuable guide to prioritizing our actions towards gender equality. We have found the certification process to be a constructive support to our efforts on this journey, bringing credibility to our initiatives, transparency of our commitment to employees, and an unbiased measure of our progress.

Rémy Best, Managing Partner, Pictet Group

Dow Switzerland

Why is now the time to act on gender equality in the workplace?

 “I think we need to first acknowledge that positive, productive action has been underway for many years now. A tremendous amount of work remains, but the will is there and both our own internal commitments and external societal expectations are coming together to force positive change. Having said that, the global pandemic has had a devastating effect on female participation in the workforce. Employers the world over are losing the critically valuable contributions of their female workforce, and we’re losing it to the other critical role women predominantly occupy: That of mother and of household and family caregiver. Now is the time to act because the professional workforce thrives on the contributions and diverse perspectives of women. We perform at our best when women have a seat at the table.”

As a leader who has taken concrete steps towards gender equality, how does EDGE Certification support your organization in its journey?

“We benefit from EDGE certification in countless ways. It is, first and foremost, a gold standard and we are very proud of the affiliation. To me, the most meaningful internal and external benefit we gain is the freedom of transparency. By laying bare our philosophies, programs and metrics, we acknowledge both the progress we have made and the work that remains. It’s a very public commitment to gender diversity in our global workforce, making that EDGE affiliation both a badge of honor and a very visible reminder that we have committed to a standard of gender diversity representation that far exceeds where we stand today. EDGE challenges us to improve, and that is a healthy challenge we gladly and proudly accept.”

Neil Carr, President, Dow Europe, Middle East, Africa and India

Time’s Up

Why is now the time to act on gender equality in the workplace?

“Women’s labor force participation in the U.S. has dropped to its lowest level since the 1980s, and we are seeing similar downturns around the world. It is incumbent on employers and public policy makers to break down the structural barriers that have kept women and other workers from staying and succeeding at work. If we do not act now, we stand to reverse all the progress we’ve made when it comes to gender equity in the workplace.” 

As a leader who has taken concrete steps towards gender equality, what is the unique way in which EDGE Certification supports organizations in their journey?

“We cannot solve problems we do not see, and we cannot know whether we are making progress or not unless we measure what we are doing. EDGE allows employers to take a good look at themselves, set a benchmark, and then measure their progress towards gender and racial equity in the workplace. This is what we need in order to build safe, fair and dignified work for all.”

Tina Tchen, CEO of Time’s Up

The European Central Bank

Why is now the time to act on gender equality in the workplace?

“The pandemic has the worrying potential to dial back the hard-fought progress on gender equality. We must not let this happen! Diversity and inclusion in the workplace are key to making the world economy more equal and better prepared for crises such as the present one.”

As a leader who has taken concrete steps towards gender equality, how did EDGE Certification support your organization in its journey?

The EDGE Certification has provided us with an incredibly rich picture of our organisation and a roadmap for how we can continue to improve on gender equality. While our journey is far from over, I am very proud of the progress we have made and our new certification recognises this.”

Christine Lagarde, President of the European Central Bank

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