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Gender Equality Award to Debut at Arkansas Business of the Year

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Twelve companies whose executives volunteered to test their own corporate practices against a new “Gender Equity Scorecard” developed by the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas and the Clinton School of Public Service will be recognized at next week’s Arkansas Business of the Year banquet.

The five that scored highest will be honored, and the top-scoring company will be presented with the first Gender Equality Award.

Arkansas Business Publishing Group, which publishes Arkansas Business, partnered with the WFA and the Clinton School to sponsor the program, and it was one of the 12 initial companies that participated in the scorecard.

The other initial participants are:

  • Arkansas Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Little Rock;
  • Arvest Bank of Fayetteville;
  • Centennial Bank of Conway;
  • EGP PLLC of North Little Rock;
  • Farmers Bank & Trust of Magnolia;
  • Mangan Holcomb Partners of Little Rock;
  • Newmark Moses Tucker Partners of Little Rock;
  • SFI Arkansas of Conway;
  • Trinity Consultants; and
  • Windstream Holdings Inc. of Little Rock.

The Gender Equity Scorecard was introduced in the fall of 2018, according to Anna Beth Gorman, executive director of the Women’s Foundation of Arkansas.

She described it as “a self-assessment tool” that give businesses “an opportunity … to dialogue about how to improve employees’ access to resources that improve overall employee satisfaction and engagement.”

The first participants, Gorman said, were recruited by WFA to take the self-assessment and to share their findings with the WFA in order to help create an “equity toolkit” for other Arkansas businesses.

The participating businesses evaluated their own policies and benefits in their workplaces by awarding points for various policies and benefits in six categories. Those categories were financial literacy, flexibility, job skills, leadership, mentoring and resources.

The highest scorers then received additional screening by the Women’s Foundation and Clinton School to confirm their results.

“This work is critically important to our state as we want to see our workforce developed and transformed,” Gorman said.

“It is an opportunity as a state to have the competitive advantage if we are actively promoting and improving gender equity in all types of environments,” she said.

“Participating companies are able to highlight and distinguish themselves no matter where they fall on the self-assessment, because they are actively engaged in the dialogue about improving work culture and creating environments where all employees have the opportunity to succeed.”

The Arkansas Business of the Year banquet will be held at the Statehouse Convention Center on March 6. (See program in this issue for details.)

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