Investing in women makes good business sense because diverse and inclusive workplaces are essential in meeting the needs of the clients and communities we serve.
During this Women’s History Month, Bank of America is recognizing the significant role women play in advancing thriving economies. One example of that is women own 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.
At Bank of America, 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.
For example, 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, and other professional development opportunities to help engage, develop, retain and support our female talent across our company.
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, we offer 16 weeks paid parental maternity, paternity and adoption leave. And to support our parents through the coronavirus, Bank of America offered childcare reimbursement of up to $100 a day, to help address the personal impacts the health crisis is having on employees and their families. Employees caring for aging parents can also take advantage of our company’s adult care services program offering resources, support and expertise to help manage these responsibilities.
As a leader in financial services, Bank of America also supports women entrepreneurs with capital and resources to help them grow their businesses:
• We partner with the Tory Burch Foundation Capital Program to provide access to affordable loans to grow their business.
• Through the Bank of America Institute for Women’s Entrepreneurship at Cornell, we are providing 50,000 women entrepreneurs with free, online learning to help advance their businesses.
• The Global Ambassadors Program – in partnership with Vital Voices – connects women leaders of social enterprises and small businesses to mentoring to help them build business acumen and realize their economic potential.
• We work with the Cherie Blair Foundation on its Mentoring Women in Business Programme to connect women entrepreneurs around the world to online mentoring; more than 500 of our employees have participated as mentors.
• We are lead sponsor of the National Women’s Business Conference hosted by the National Association of Women Business Owners, working to propel women entrepreneurs into economic, social and political spheres of power.
• Our partnership with the Institute for Economic Empowerment of Women on its Peace Through Business program helps women entrepreneurs from Afghanistan and Rwanda improve their businesses through financial management and mentoring.
• The bank works with Paradigm for Parity, an organization committed to achieving gender parity across all levels of corporate leadership.
• With Girls Who Code, the bank offers a summer immersion program for high school-aged girls to learn skills in digital technology and robotics and gain exposure to women engineers and entrepreneurs at the bank.
We’re proud of these investments, which have been noticed by Working Mother magazine’s 100 Best Companies for 32 consecutive years, Fortune / Great Place to Work’s Best Workplaces for Women list and PEOPLE Magazine Companies that Care.
While the recognition underscores our commitment to a diverse workforce, the achievements directly reflect the dedication, effort and drive to make a positive and lasting impact on our company, and the communities we serve.
Christine Katziff serves as chief audit executive Bank of America. She is based in Charlotte.