Newsletter | Gender Equity In Action

April 13, 2024

Newsletter from the Council for Inclusive Capitalism


The annual recognition of International Women’s Day and Women’s History Month, observed in March, is a powerful reminder of our progress toward gender equity and the considerable work that lies ahead. It is a time to celebrate the achievements of women around the globe while acknowledging the barriers they continue to face in achieving equality.

Pushback against efforts to foster diversity, equity, and inclusion poses a significant threat to the progress made since the tragic murder of George Floyd in 2020. Gender inequity remains firmly rooted, and other dimensions of inequality are also on the rise. A global study by UN Women reveals a startling projection: at our current pace, closing the gender pay gap will take nearly 300 years. Such a forecast is not only unacceptable but starkly highlights the opportunities we lose when we fail to fully engage and honor the potential of all individuals, irrespective of gender.

Members of the Council for Inclusive Capitalism have the power to break down barriers to economic advancement through our commitments. By empowering workers, communities, and consumers and respecting their diverse identities, we unlock the potential to grow our economies in equitable and sustainable ways.

It is more than just the right thing to do. The benefits of enhancing the equity and inclusion of our workforce are clear, spanning the entire economy, from companies to investors:

  • Economy-wide: Equal pay for women could increase U.S. GDP by 3% or $600 billion annually, according to Bank of America.
  • Company-level: Companies with gender-diverse management teams are 25% more likely to outperform their male-dominated counterparts, according to McKinsey & Co.
  • Investor-value: Investments in companies with a proactive stance on women’s representation yield higher average returns, according to Morgan Stanley.

Let us reaffirm our dedication to breaking down the systemic barriers that perpetuate gender inequality. Your leadership and commitment to action are vital in pushing forward to make the change we seek. Together, we can accelerate progress toward a more inclusive and equitable world. I implore you to take inspiration from the remarkable women featured in this newsletter and join us in this moment to reinvigorate our efforts to create an economy that works for all.

Warm regards,
Lynn Forester de Rothschild
Founder and CEO

Leading Women of Inclusive Capitalism

headshot and logo Johanna Zeilstra Gender Fair

Johanna Zeilstra, CEO of Gender Fair, epitomizes the integration of strategy, finance, and a profound commitment to gender equality, driving substantial shifts within the corporate sphere. Her leadership has seen the creation of the Gender Fair app, a groundbreaking tool that assesses companies through the lens of the UN’s Women’s Empowerment Principles, celebrating those who authentically champion gender equality. Additionally, Gender Fair’s role as a co-founder of the Coalition for Gender Fair Procurement has set a new precedent for how businesses can leverage their spending power to foster a more equitable industry landscape. Zeilstra’s initiatives illuminate a powerful principle: leveraging independent data and market dynamics can transform the pursuit of equality from aspiration to operational reality.

​​​​”Consumers are a powerful force for change, and if they have the data, they will act upon it. For businesses, there is a level of competitiveness when it comes to the score – think Coke vs PepsiCo. As each tries to improve their individual score, it is a race to the top as more companies seek to outdo their competitors.” states Zeilstra, highlighting the dual impact of informed consumer choice and corporate competitiveness on promoting gender equality (read additional insights here).

To further explore Gender Fair’s innovative strategies for turning both consumer and business spending into powerful catalysts for progress, watch the video below. Diana Lyman, Chief Revenue Officer at Gender Fair, delves into the groundbreaking efforts of the Coalition for Gender Fair Procurement and the transformative potential of the Gender Fair app.

Watch below:

headshot Yeşim Seviğ

Yeşim Seviğ is Secretary General of the Women Entrepreneurs Association of Turkey (KAGIDER), a non-governmental organization whose mission is to strengthen women entrepreneurs in Turkey. Yeşim’s journey, from entrepreneurship to spearheading women’s economic participation efforts, showcases her embodiment of resilience and empowerment. Through KAGIDER, she advances the vision of achieving gender parity in Turkey’s workforce and uplifting women entrepreneurs. KAGIDER’s goal is to ensure 50% women’s workforce participation and elevate the rate of women’s entrepreneurship from 11% to its pre-pandemic mark of 14%.

Discover more about the remarkable work of KAGIDER:

headshot Amanda Blanc

Amanda Blanc, CEO of Aviva and Steering Committee member of the Council for Inclusive Capitalism, led her organization to notable achievements in 2023. Under Blanc’s leadership, Aviva saw a 9% increase in operating profit while exceeding its goal of ensuring 40% of its senior management roles were held by women by the end of the year. Blanc’s impact extends beyond business metrics, with initiatives like Aviva’s comprehensive menopause support program, highlighting the importance of supporting women through all life stages. Under Blanc’s guidance, Aviva, a proud signatory of the Women in Finance Charter and the 30% Club, proves that business success and inclusive practices can go hand in hand.

Learn more about Aviva’s trailblazing efforts and their impact:

The Council in action for Gender Equality

sdg icon 5 gender equalityOur members are collectively taking over 140 actions to advance UN Sustainable Development Goal 5, to push forward in achieving gender equality and empower all women.

Explore the actions our members are taking:

The Estée Lauder Companies: Striving for gender parity in senior leadership by 2025 through the Open Doors Collection—ELC’s signature women’s leadership program—ELC is enhancing career advancement opportunities with intensive training sessions and events, achieving 45% female representation in Global SVP positions and above as of FY 2022.

Vale: Committed to doubling female workforce representation to 26% by 2025, Vale is enhancing its culture of inclusivity through structured initiatives and affirmative policies targeting gender, race, and disability, with progress tracked via annual sustainability reports.


LVS Capital Limited: Pledged to foster diversity and gender equality by this year, LVS Capital aims to be a diversity ambassador in Asia, focusing on investing in companies that embrace inclusive policies, aiming for a workforce with at least 20% ethnic diversity and a 30% increase in women in senior management.

Pioneering Gender Parity in Leadership

Discover key takeaways from our November 16 webinar, “Achieving Gender Parity at the Leadership Level and in the Boardroom,” hosted in collaboration with European Women on Boards, Him for Her, and Competent Boards. Experts shared insights on the urgent need for broader networks, legislative support, and the benefits of remote workplaces to enhance women’s representation in leadership roles. Council members and allies are actively pursuing gender equity, embodying our commitment to equal opportunities and outcomes for all.

Watch now:


Case Study" Insights from the digital journey of a woman entrepreneur in peruThis case study narrates the digital journey of Nora, a bodega owner in Peru, emphasizing the importance of digitalization for Micro and Small Enterprises (MSEs) and the unique contributions of women entrepreneurs to this space. Through Nora’s story, Council Ally Fundación Capital demonstrates the significant economic and social benefits digital inclusivity can bring to businesses, especially in emerging markets. It is a testament to the resilience of women entrepreneurs and a guide for MSEs worldwide to embrace digital transformation for enhanced productivity and growth.




"Gender Balance and Inclusive Cultures: A Guide for CEOs" by The B Team

“Gender Balance and Inclusive Cultures: A Guide for CEOs” by The B Team provides a roadmap for business leaders aiming to foster gender-balanced and inclusive environments in their organizations. This guide emphasizes the critical need for equality as a core value, showcases the economic and social benefits of gender parity, and presents actionable strategies for integrating gender diversity into the corporate culture. It is a clarion call and tangible playbook for CEOs to lead the charge in transforming their companies and, by extension, the broader business landscape into more equitable and prosperous entities.


📖 Deeper Reading: Explore Issues within Inclusive Capitalism

From just transition pledges to practice: companies under the CA100+ microscope  
Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at LSE

As the Grantham Institute at LSE puts in this analysis of just transition actions as assessed by the investor-led initiative Climate Action 100+: “A poorly managed transition to net zero emissions would cause immense human and economic costs, whereas a just transition has the potential to generate new jobs and bridge existing gaps in social and regional inequalities.”  While most companies have yet to develop proactive plans for bridging the gap between decarbonization and social impact, Grantham notes that sector-specific tools, such as the Council’s Just Transition Framework for Company Action, are providing real value to companies which require new practices, as well as communities in building resilience.

Climate Investors Warn the Right Is Winning the War on ESG

​​​​​​Recent changes at the investor-led initiative Climate Action 100+ have complicated investors’ efforts to address climate factors as financial risk to their portfolios and fiduciary duty.  Despite right-wing opposition—particularly in America, where state-level proposals aim to restrict investor and business consideration of climate change—the CA100+ coalition continues to demonstrate the importance of climate change in financial decision-making.  Meanwhile, other CA100+ advancements and corporate commitments signal the clear role for investor-led initiatives navigating the challenges of climate

Getting Ahead of the Curve on Dynamic Materiality: How U.S. investors can foster more inclusive capitalism
Predistribution Initiative, Oxfam America and Omidyar Network

Despite soaring corporate profits and strong market performance, wealth and income inequality are increasing, leading to public disenfranchisement and market imbalances which can eventually jeopardize crucial business functions and diversified investors’ portfolios. This paper by the Predistribution Initiative and partners provides new understanding of how greater engagement between investors and communities supports value creation, and why many institutional investors are calling for new tools to manage social- and environmental-related financial risks

Real Effects of the Proposed SEC Climate Disclosure Rule
Mary Ellen Carter et al. for the European Corporate Governance Institute

This month, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission adopted its final rule requiring public companies to disclose certain emissions information and low-carbon transition plans to investors.  Although the SEC’s final rule will not require companies to disclose their indirect Scope 3 emissions, this paper from the perspective of European Corporate Governance Institute examines the potential impact of future disclosures and transition reporting by large U.S. firms across supply chains and ‘brown’, or ‘dirty’, sectors and regions.  The authors’ study highlights over the past year, how the SEC’s proposals already led some firms to adjust emissions-producing operations and enact environmental efforts over the past year, and provides confidence that implementing the regulation next year will induce real changes in corporate decision-making.



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