Why investing in women is good business
A commitment to a diverse workforce makes a lasting impact on companies and communities
Investing in women makes good business sense because diverse and inclusive workplaces are essential in meeting the needs of today’s diverse clients, communities and other key stakeholders.
Bank of America recognizes the significant role women play in advancing thriving economies – with women owning 37% of all businesses worldwide. It’s why we continue to invest every day in helping them make meaningful contributions within our company and in their communities at large. Here in Colorado, for example, we partner with the Colorado Enterprise Fund, a Colorado-based CDFI, to provide loans and small business support to veteran and women entrepreneurs. We also are an engaged member of the Colorado Women’s Chamber of Commerce through our sponsorship of the Powerful Voices Conversation Series, which highlights the inspirational stories of perseverance and success of women in business.
A snapshot of Bank of America’s current employee demographics shows that women make up 50% of our global workforce, 32% of our global management team, more than 40% of our managers and 35% of our board of directors – exceeding industry benchmarks.
So how did we get here? By bringing talented women to our company, investing in their career growth and providing a range of supportive benefits, while also supporting the economic empowerment of women in communities around the world.
The bank partners with more than 350 colleges and universities around the world to recruit diverse talent, and our most recent summer intern class was 47% female. We have programs designed specifically to support the retention and career development of female employees such as our LEAD (Leadership, Education, Advocacy and Development) for Women Employee Network, which is more than 36,000 members strong. Locally, we sponsor Girls & Science, which offers young people the opportunity to explore what a future career in science, technology, engineering, art, and math (STEAM) entails through mentorships with women in STEAM. We also support transitional employment programs serving women who have struggled to obtain and maintain employment or need training or reskilling assistance through our grants to organizations like Women’s Bean Project, Ready to Work Aurora, Center for Work, Education & Employment, and Mi Casa Resource Center.
But an effective diversity and inclusion program goes beyond recruitment and development and includes progressive workplace policies and benefits so all employees feel supported in managing responsibilities at work and at home. For example, to support working parents through the coronavirus, Bank of America offered its employees childcare reimbursement of up to $100 a day. Similar support was also offered to employees caring for aging parents.
As a leader in financial services, Bank of America also supports women entrepreneurs with capital and resources to help them grow their businesses. I’ve seen first-hand the impact of our support when I helped mentor women business owners through the bank’s partnership with the Cherie Blair Foundation. The program has matched more than 2,700 women in developing and emerging countries to online mentors, including more than 500 of my Bank of America colleagues.
Through our commitment to a diverse workforce, we hope to make a positive and lasting impact on our company, and the communities we serve.
Melvina Carrick is the Colorado Market Leader for Bank of America.