Blog Post

DBP Members Celebrate Women’s History Month

By Jennifer London
March 10, 2015
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Women’s History Month Theme
Stock Photo

In 1980, President Jimmy Carter issued a Presidential Proclamation declaring the week of March 8 Women’s History Week, coinciding with International Women’s Day. During his message designating the week as Women’s History Week he said, “As Dr. Gerda Lerner has noted, “Women’s History is Women’s Right.” – It is an essential and indispensable heritage from which we can draw pride, comfort, courage, and long-range vision.”[1] In 1987, Congress declared March as Women’s History Month.

This year’s theme is Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives. 2015 marks the 35th Anniversary of the Women’s History Movement and the National Women’s History Project (http://www.nwhp.org/).

The US Census Bureau’s Fact for Features site is a great resource where one can find a collection of facts and figures on different demographic groups in the United States. Some of the facts and figures the site shared for Women’s History Month are:

  • 63% : Percentage of social scientists who were women, the heaviest representation of women among all STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) fields. Among other STEM fields, approximately 14 percent of engineers, 45 percent of mathematicians and statisticians and 47 percent of life scientists were women. The rates of mathematicians and statisticians, and life scientists are not statistically different from each other.​ Source: 2012 American Community Survey
  • 13.6: Percent of employed women 16 and over in 2013 (annual average) who worked in management, business and financial related occupations, compared with 15.5 percent of employed men in the same year. Source: 2013 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates, Table B24010
  • $39,157: The median annual earnings of women 15 or older who worked year-round, full time in 2013. In comparison, the median annual earnings of men were $50,033. Source: Income and Poverty in the United States: 2013, Table A-4 [2]

In his proclamation for Women’s History Month this year, President Obama addressed many of the issues our members are working to address every day including flexible work arrangements, paid leave, and equal pay.

“Today, more women are their family’s main breadwinner than ever before. Women are nearly half of our Nation’s workers, and they are increasingly among the most skilled. At the same time, more than 60 percent of women with children under the age of 5 participate in the labor force. This increasing participation of women in our workforce has bolstered our economy and strengthened our families, and it has demonstrated that the policies that benefit women and working families benefit all of us.

But not all of the rules that govern our workplaces have caught up with this reality, and today, too many of the opportunities that our mothers and grandmothers fought for are going unrealized. That is why I am committed to tearing down the barriers to full and equal participation in our economy and society that still exist for too many women. All women deserve equal pay for equal work and a living wage; the Congress needs to raise the minimum wage and pass a law that ensures a woman is paid the same as a man for doing the same work. I continue to call for increased workplace flexibility and access to paid leave — including paid sick leave — so that hardworking Americans do not have to choose between being productive employees and responsible family members. And I have proposed a plan that would make quality child care available to every middle-class and low-income family in America with young children. These are not only women’s issues — they are family issues and national economic priorities.”[3]

Here are some of the programs and initiatives Diversity Best Practices member companies are doing to celebrate Women’s History Month:

AXA

AXA is recognizing Women’s History Month this March to celebrate women’s contributions to events in history and society. AXA’s activities are being coordinated by Women’s Outreach at Work (WOW), one of AXA’s Employee Resource Groups.

This month is an opportunity to raise awareness of WOW’s mission of empowering and supporting women, educating employees to help them achieve their personal and professional goals, and supporting AXA as a preferred employer for women in financial services. WOW took the national theme of Women’s History Month, “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives,” into consideration in their planning for the month:

  • Thursday, March 12: Guest Speaker, Meg Paradise: Meg Paradise, an award-winning talent leadership and development executive with experience leading initiatives, will speak about women in the workplace, drawing on her own experience and stories.
  • Thursday, March 19: AXA Women’s Panel: This panel event features several AXA women, including Priscilla Sims Brown (Chief Marketing Officer), Adrienne Johnson (Chief Audit Executive), Aubrey Hait (2014 Women’s Bond Club Rising Star), and Rael Linder (AXA Advisors Financial Professional, NY Metro branch). This panel will discuss highlights, challenges, lessons learned during their careers, and what they aim to accomplish in the future.
  • Thursday, March 26: Recognition Ceremony: Two outstanding women from each employee site will be awarded WOW’s first Women’s History Month Spotlight Award. This award will be given annually to recognize and honor women who have made noteworthy contributions in the areas of community service, mentorship and leadership.

In addition to the above events, WOW will provide opportunities for AXA employees to join in on the conversation online via the company intranet. WOW will post a weekly forums relating to Women’s History Month that employees can respond to (e.g. What woman, past or current, inspires you and why?). Furthermore, employees are encouraged to share their stories, insights and inspiration on the intranet throughout the month of March.

Barclay’s

Barclay’s is launching the UN’s HeForShe campaign internally for International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month. This campaign is being rolled out across all of their offices and business units. HeForShe is a global UN campaign which aims to engage one billion men in the advancement of women’s rights. Barclays sponsored the launch events in New York and Singapore, and is launching an internal campaign to encourage colleagues to sign up.

While HeForShe is expansive in scope, Barclay’s has tailored it to link to talent management and engagement of their women, with a strong link to citizenship and community investment.

On International Women’s Day, the Diversity and Inclusion team will be launching an internal year-long campaign to bring more men into the discussion around gender in the workplace and in their communities. In phase 1 of the campaign, men will be asked to make 2/3 commitments from the following categories:

  • Mentoring
  • Talent development
  • Support for girls/women via Community Investment
  • WIN, Barclays Gender Network
  • Role models/case studies
  • Council involvement

Barclay’s is asking each member of the Council to sign up to the campaign, publically support it and to make commitments in the above categories. They will be taking photographs of the Council members with a HeForShe placard which they will use to show leadership support within Barclays.

Health Care Services Corporation

In celebration of Women’s History Month, employees at Health Care Service Corporation (HCSC), operator of Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans in Illinois, Montana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, joined forces to bring awareness to the extraordinary successes of women. The W.I.S.E. (Women Improving the Strength of the Enterprise) business resource group is celebrating Women’s History Month in multiple ways.

To kick off Women’s History Month W.I.S.E, an employee-driven group, hosted a live event for employees. The event featured an interview with HCSC’S President and Chief Executive Officer Patricia A. Hemingway Hall. The candid interview, moderated by W.I.S.E. Enterprise Chair Michelle Riddell, focused on Hemingway Hall’s personal career and history within the health care industry. Hemingway Hall discussed the importance of having a mentor throughout her career and taking stretch assignments to increase her leadership skills. As a company, nearly 60% of the management positions are held by women, 30% are in senior leadership roles (3 out of 4 executive vice presidents are women) and women represent 35% of HCSC’s board of directors.

During the event, Hemingway Hall also presented an inaugural award to the Sue Hunt, DSVP of Human Resources. This new annual award, The WISEst One of All, was launched to recognize women who have made a significant impact on HCSC’s workplace.

To bring further awareness of Women’s History Month, W.I.S.E. volunteers coordinated a “WOW (Wall of Women) Wall,” in which employees have the opportunity to honor women who have made a lasting impact on their lives. Employees are invited to share personal stories and inspiring tributes.

W.I.S.E business resource group promotes mutually beneficial relationships, by leveraging the unique talents of women with a focus on fostering innovative change, creating professional development opportunities and contributing to business success.

FINRA

In recognition of Women’s History Month in March, the FINRA Women’s Network employee resource group will be celebrating the successes and achievements of FINRA women at all levels across the organization.

The FINRA Women’s Network highlighted the 2015 National Women’s History Month theme, “Weaving the Stories of Women’s Lives,” in a huge way this year! The FINRA Women’s Network provided employees the opportunity to hear from two internal female senior level executives, Susan Schroeder, Senior Vice President & Counsel, Enforcement and Gerri Walsh, Senior Vice President, Office of Investor Education who shared their stories, and discussed their personal and professional accomplishments as leaders at FINRA. Susan Schroeder is also the Executive Sponsor of the FINRA Asian Professional Association and Gerri Walsh is the Executive Sponsor of the FINRA Military Community employee resource group. This platform allowed employees to hear a very candid conversation between senior level executives. Employees were also allowed to ask questions of interest following the panel discussion. Local employees were encouraged to attend in person, while remote employees across FINRA offices joined the live session via WebEx and teleconference.

Also in March, the FINRA Women’s Network Management Committee Members held a face- to- face strategic planning session in Rockville, MD to continue strategy discussions on future Women’s Network key initiatives for 2015. The FINRA Women’s Network Executive Sponsor is Robert Marchman, Executive Vice President, Market Regulation—Legal Administration.

In addition, the FINRA Women’s Network will further celebrate Women’s History Month in their March Issue of FWN Connect, a newsletter developed solely by the FINRA Women’s Network that is provided to their membership of 712 men and women across FINRA locations.

New York Life

New York Life is celebrating Women’s History Month with a theme of “Creating a Culture of Courage” and programming that targets the mission of The Women’s Initiative at New York Life – Be Confident, Be Connected, Be Committed (development, networking, giving back). The Women’s Initiative is New York Life’s employee resource group for women. The company is kicking off the month by hosting Cindy Solomon, author of The Courage Challenge. Ms. Solomon will share her insights about how courage has become the new leadership differentiator. She will discuss the different types of courage, when to invoke each, and how women can build courage skills to enable them to become better leaders. Ms. Solomon’s presentation will be followed by Live Collage, a New York Life tradition where employees share stories of women who have exemplified exceptional courage in order to make a difference in history or succeed in their chosen field of study/career. NY Life’s intranet will also highlight a few employees sharing their feelings about Women’s History Month. At the end of the month, there will be a networking breakfast with members of The Women’s Initiative and senior leaders discussing Ms. Solomon’s book. Finally, the company will host a Dress for Success suit drive, another New York Life Women’s History Month custom.

PG&E

The Women’s Network ERG at PG&E is planning a few options for their membership: a mentoring walk pairing women Directors with mentees in an informal setting, which also promotes health and wellness; and they will be showing motivational/inspirational videos celebrating powerful women during a noon time event.

PNC

Activating Women’s History Month … All Year Long

Women’s History Month at PNC is just one of 12 months that demonstrate the contributions and achievements of women, and show the power of strong relationships with women and women-run businesses. PNC is a year-round supporter of women in the workplace and in the marketplace. Events have been under way since January and will continue throughout the year. “PNC continues to support this important demographic segment because we are keenly aware of the significant role women play in the workforce, workplace and marketplace,” said Marsha Jones, chief diversity officer. “While Women’s History Month is a time to pause, reflect and recognize the contributions and accomplishments of women, we believe it’s important to celebrate and support them year-round.”

Market activity PNC hosts and sponsors dozens of events in support of women all year long, and the majority of those events are not part of Women’s History Month. They are simply how the bank does business year-round. With the support of the Regional Diversity and Inclusion Councils, here are a few of the highlights.

  • Florida East — On Mar. 19, PNC will host two events as part of its sponsorship of Women of Vision, which showcases the work of women photographers at National Geographic. Photographer Maggie Steber will be at the Palm Beach Photographic Center for a breakfast event with Women Business leaders and organizations in the community. Steber will mentor young women in the community at the Palm Beach Photographic Center at 2 p.m. PNC will sponsor on March 30 the South Florida Business Journal’s Mentoring Monday program at the Nova Southeastern Campus in Davie, Fla.
  • Florida West — PNC will host clients and guests at the Greater Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Women of Influence Luncheon on April 2.
  • Milwaukee — A June 11 Women’s Spa Networking is set for downtown Milwaukee for around 15 clients and prospects. Later in the year, PNC will host a Women’s Networking night in August at the PNC suite at Miller Park.
  • St. Louis — Activities started in January with a sponsorship of the Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri Women’s Leadership Network Launch event. * PNC will sponsor the St. Louis Business Journal’s Bizwomen Mentoring March 30, from 7 to 9 a.m., at the St. Louis Zoo. The event is open to the public. * PNC will receive the ATHENA Organizational Leadership Award for its support of women in business on May 6. The award will be given at the ATHENA Leadership Foundation leadership summit and luncheon, * On Aug. 14, PNC will sponsor the St. Louis Business Journal’s Most Influential Business Women luncheon.
  • Eastern Carolina — PNC will be a sponsor of the Greater Raleigh Chamber of Commerce Women Leaders Conference, held in Raleigh, N.C., on Mar. 12, from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. * On Mar. 30, as part of the Corporate C&IB sponsorship with the American Business Journals, PNC will sponsor Triangle Business Journal’s Bizwomen Mentoring Monday. The event will be held in Raleigh from 9 to 10 a.m. Women’s business development** Last year, in eight markets with chapters of Women Connect EBRG, PNC hosted events featuring a video presentation on creating highly engaged and diverse teams that was designed to spark dialogue between employees and managers. The talk, by a leading voice in employee engagement, was recorded and distributed and viewed on a single day in March. This year, PNC is going bigger. Women Connect and the Committee of 200, an organization of successful women entrepreneurs and corporate innovators, are sponsoring a live-streamed interactive panel called Accelerating Achievement: Celebrating and Advancing Women in Business. The panel will be held in Washington, D.C., on Mar. 24 and streamed to networking events in 20 PNC markets.

U.S. Bank

  • U.S. Bank is inviting employees to share stories about women who inspire them. These women can be anyone from the past or present and can be public or private figures. When employees post their thoughts in the company’s online diversity and inclusion community during March, they’ll automatically be entered into a drawing to win $50 Visa gift cards.
  • U.S. Bank’s Women in Leadership Development group in Cincinnati is hosting an in-person event featuring a guest speaker who will discuss personal branding and leadership.
  • The company’s Women in Technology and Operations and Services business resource group is discussing topics related to Women’s History Month on their online community.
  • One of the company’s locations in St. Paul, Minn., is conducting a “Women in History” contest all month.
  • The Women’s Officer Network of U.S. Bank’s Consumer Banking Sales and Support business line is sponsoring “Paint it Purple” day on March 9 in observance of International Women’s Day.
  • All employees and branch locations are invited to display a specially-designed Women’s History Month poster.
  • The company is encouraging employees to organize activities and events for their teams or locations and to share recaps and photos in the company’s online diversity and inclusion community.
  • U.S. Bank’s intranet news page, Inside USB, is highlighting these events all month long and also is promoting its online multicultural calendar.

Zurich North America

A series of articles will be written highlighting Zurich leaders in celebration of International Women’s Day. The articles will focus on highlighting women leaders within the Zurich organization. These articles will share insights and businesses successes that these individuals have achieved in their career. The articles will be published on our intranet site, “Channel Z” one time each week in March.

The WIN Human Resources Business Partner, Gisel Dexter, invited members of the WIN Leadership Team, as well as their committee members, to take part in Diversity Best Practices’ web seminar titled “The Business of Empowering Women.”


[1] http://www.nwhp.org/womens-history-month/womens-history-month-history/

[2] http://www.census.gov/newsroom/facts-for-features/2015/cb15-ff05.html

[3] http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2015/02/27/presidential-proclamation-women-s-history-month

About the Authors

Jennifer London
Director, Events
Seramount