Four Clinton School of Public Service students, in partnership with the Women's Foundation of Arkansas, have created a "gender equity scorecard" — an internal assessment they hope Arkansas businesses will use to evaluate the state of gender equity in the workplace.
The Clinton School in downtown Little Rock hosted a panel discussion on the scorecard Tuesday afternoon.
The panelists were Sharon Tallach Vogelpohl, president of Mangan Holcomb Partners and principal at Team SI, both of Little Rock; WFA Executive Director Anna Beth Gorman; Madeline Moore, human resources manager for Arvest Bank's central Arkansas market; and Chris Bahn, publisher of business special publications at Arkansas Business Publishing Group of Little Rock.
The scorecard asks employers questions about their company's policies around financial literacy, flexibility, job skills, leadership, mentoring and resources. The foundation plans to invite more businesses to participate in the scorecard as it refines and rolls out the program.
Gorman said the scorecard's six categories were determined by a survey asking women what they wanted to see in the workplace. She said scoring well on all categories would benefit every employee, not just women.
Vogelpohl said her business depends on recruiting talent, so having an equitable workplace plays a big role in creating an environment that can compete for talent.
Moore called the report card "a great conversation starter." She said completing the survey showed Arvest that it needed to offer employees the same financial literacy education it provides to customers.
"It's just a baseline. It allows you to come to a tangible result about something that can seem really subjective at times and difficult to quantify," Moore said. "Some of the questions deal specifically with percentages of women at each level of the organization, and for me, I love that. Because, I think we'd all answer, 'Do you work for an equitable workplace?' We'd all say, 'Sure, or we wouldn't work there.' But numbers don't lie. They really tell the story."
Bahn said ABPG has historically been focused on gender equity; CEO Olivia Farrell was a driving force behind the establishment of the WFA. While the company performed well on the scorecard, it learned that it needs to create a formal mentoring program, Bahn said.
Bahn said businesses that score well on the gender equity assessment will be recognized at this year's Arkansas Business of the Year Awards. The long-standing event also honors small, medium and large businesses, nonprofits and executives.
ABPG publishes Arkansas Business and ArkansasBusiness.com.