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Two Filipino firms join Bloomberg’s Gender Equality Index

FILIPINO firms DMCI Holdings, Inc and Semirara Mining and Power Corp. were recognized as two of seven companies in the region that promoted gender equality in their workplaces, according to Bloomberg’s latest Gender Equality Index (GEI).

Bloomberg’s annual GEI recognizes publicly listed firms that bring transparency to gender-related practices and policies, while increasing the scope of environmental, social, and governance (ESG) data available to investors.

In a press release on Wednesday, Bloomberg said that its latest GEI comprised 380 companies, up by around 17% from last year’s number. It said those on the 2021 index have a combined market capitalization of $14 trillion, up from $12 trillion last year.

The other ASEAN firms identified in this year’s GEI are: Genting Singapore Plc; Energy Absolute PCL; Home Product Center Public Co. Ltd.; DiGi.Com Bhd, and PT Keluarga Karyasehat Tbk.

Filipino firm SM Investments Corp., which joined the index in 2020, is part of the GEI companies this year.

“As we continue to grapple with the pandemic, we’ve seen companies put increased emphasis on the ‘S’ in ESG,” Peter T. Grauer, the chairman of Bloomberg, was quoted as saying.

He added: “The companies included in this year’s Gender Equality Index are committed to providing an inclusive work environment, supporting work-life balance and flexible work arrangements to retain a talented workforce and create a competitive advantage in this changing business environment.”

Despite the higher standards for inclusion in this year’s index, Bloomberg received a record number of disclosures from GEI companies as the average disclosure score hit 94%.

“The average disclosure score of the 15 companies in ASEAN is high, outperforming the average disclosure score of the index as a whole. Disclosure is an important component in the GEI as it is the first step towards accountability. The decisions companies make today can drive progress on equality for years to come,” said Patricia Torres, global head of Bloomberg Sustainable Finance Solutions.

Bloomberg, however noted that average data excellence score was 55%, which meant that more work still needed to be done.

Broken down, the data excellence score includes: female leadership and talent pipeline, equal pay and gender pay parity, inclusive culture, sexual harassment policies, and pro-women brand.

Around 87% of the firms included in Bloomberg’s GEI offered flexible working hours, while 85% offered flexible working locations. On average, GEI member boards comprised 29% women.

GEI companies reported that they were hiring more women, with 69% having a strategy for recruiting women and 59% conducting a gender-based compensation review.

Meanwhile, more than half of the member companies or 60% sponsored financial education programs from women. Sixty percent of firms were said to have sponsored programs focused on educating women in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math.

At present, there are 16 GEI-listed companies in Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, Singapore, and Thailand. — Angelica Y. Yang

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