The companies that create women-centric solutions will be the companies that capture the lucrative and growing female consumer market. The companies that create a gender-equal work environment will be the companies women want to work for.

In my previous posts, I outlined the issue of gender equality in the workforce, its business impacts, and steps financial services HR professionals and the businesses they support can take to create a gender-equal business environment. In the belief that success stories and best practices can provide inspiration and incentive to others, I’d like to share a few examples of how some companies are promoting gender equality.

Walking the talk of gender equality

In a pilot project, Australian technology provider Telstra has increased its female applicant rate from 20 to 32 percent and raised its female applicant acceptance rate from 37 to 50 percent over a three‑month period by introducing the concept of flexibility and allowing employees to help define the flexibility terms.

Recognising the importance of relating to your audience, Fidelity Investments in the United States has trained its salesforce to respond differently to women and men clients. Providing this type of training helps improve the salesforce’s effectiveness in understanding and meeting the needs of women, and helps build women’s confidence and trust in making financial decisions—leading to new business.

Over the past few years, YES Bank’s LEAP program has successfully grown the company’s revenue and brand equity by providing financial services such as credit, saving, and micro insurance to entrepreneurial women through partnerships with approximately 40,000 women‑centric self‑help groups. The company has reached out to 1.3 million women customers and distributed a total of $500 million in loans through its financial inclusion initiative.

Annapurna Microfinance Private Limited, a non-banking financial company established with the objective of forming and promoting self‑help groups to attain improvement in their socioeconomic condition through economic activities, offers both financial and non-financial services to unbanked and marginalised people. The organisation also provides financial and technical assistance to help the poor (a large number of whom are women) become self-sufficient at creating and accumulating their own capital. The company is now driving revenue generation through these previously untapped and unserved customer segments.

Gender equality is good for women, and good business

Creating and sustaining gender equality is both a business and a societal issue—the two go hand‑in‑hand. In a global environment where women from all walks of life are achieving educational parity with men, entering the workforce in increasing numbers, and both earning and spending more money, it makes good business sense to provide the type of support that ensures women are allowed to make an equal contribution at every level of the workforce and are being served in the marketplace in alignment with their wants and needs.

For a more information on the issues surrounding gender equality in the workforce, please see:

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