Companies have been working to diversify their boards and foster a more inclusive culture in recent years. And while progress has been made, there’s still a lot of work to be done.
An Insider report reveals that women working full-time were making 82.3 cents for every dollar their male counterparts made in 2019. As of 2021, women are still getting paid 17.7% less annually than men. And in terms of leadership positions, Insider reports that only 5.5% of CEOs among 3,000 of the largest U.S. companies are women.
Lybra Clemons, chief diversity, inclusion, and belonging officer at Twilio, is working to ensure that the San Francisco-based communications software company hires, engages, and retains more women and multicultural talent — and her efforts appear to be working. At Twilio, Clemons has helped launch such initiatives as a leadership development program, career planning for Black and Latinx “Twilions,” and a software engineering apprenticeship since joining the firm in 2020.
“When you have senior people that look like you, that to me is upper important,” Clemens said in a Salesforce video. “If you are not creating the prototype of the type of leader you want at your company that incorporates diversity, equity, and inclusion, then you’re going to have some serious challenges and problems.”
In an interview with CNBC, Clemons, who has developed and managed diversity engagement and recruitment for such Fortune 500 companies as Paypal, Morgan Stanley, and American Express, advised women struggling with confidence in the workplace that they shouldn’t compare their career journeys with anyone else’s.
“At a young age, I was constantly comparing myself and my career journeys with everybody else’s. My whole purpose at a job was to move up and to get promoted, and it was so ridiculous,” Clemens said. “I remember someone telling me, this is not everybody’s journey. This is your journey, and purpose. At times, your purpose is to just be, and it’s okay to sit and take the lesson before moving on. And sometimes when you’re sitting, that’s when all the magic happens.”
Investing in Gender Diversity With SHE
Those looking to invest in companies with the highest gender diversity amongst leadership positions within their industries may want to consider the SPDR SSGA Gender Diversity Index ETF (SHE). SHE follows the SSGA Gender Diversity Index, an index that tracks large-cap U.S. companies exhibiting gender diversity within their senior leadership.
The benchmark pulls from the top 1,000 U.S. stocks by market capitalization, using three different gender diversity screens to narrow down its selection universe.
These metrics include the ratio of female executives and female board of director members to all executives and all board of director members, the ratio of female executives to all executives, and the ratio of female executives (excluding those on the board of directors) to the number of executives in total (again, excluding board members).
For the purposes of the index, “executives” are defined as any position of vice president or higher in a company, or a position of managing director and above in a financial sector company.
SHE carries an expense ratio of 0.20%.
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