Bloomberg Introduces New Gender-Equality Index

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New market data tools are emerging to help investors who prioritize gender equality assess a company’s efforts.
Recently, Bloomberg launched an index that scores financial-service companies on how well they treat women and whether they are promoting gender equality. Generally, the index is one of several new tools for investors to measure how firms handle gender equality.
The index, called the Bloomberg Financial Services Gender-Equality Index (BFGEI), rates companies not only based on programs like parental leave and flexible work arrangements—which together make up 70 percent of the score—but also whether a company has product benefits geared toward women and community engagement.
This kind of data is based on Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) indexes, which were established for investors who care about environmental and corporate social-responsibility issues.
Currently the BFGEI is only available via Bloomberg’s proprietary terminals and only includes public companies with a market cap larger than $15 billion. Also, the data itself comes from a survey companies volunteered to fill out.
The pioneer list features 26 financial firms that scored above the 60-point threshold required for a company “with strong commitments to gender equality.”
According to Michael Bloomberg at BFGEI’s launch event in New York, “The big money managers really are interested in gender equality, in the environment and what companies are doing about that, how open they are about recruiting people from all different backgrounds, from all over the world.”
In essence, there is a growing demand from investors for data on how well firms perform on matters of gender equality and whether industry benchmarks are being met, although the argument usually offered in support of impact investing is that it is both a good social and business decision.
The hope is that indexes like BFGEI will incentivize and encourage more firms to enact gender-equality policies and disclose them.
For now, Bloomberg’s index serves as a tool for investors to decide whether gender equity matters to them. And if it does, there’s hope that other companies will take note and act on it.
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