Celebrating International Women’s Day
By Jane Fraser and Gavin Michael, Co-Leads of Citi Women March 08, 2019 12:00 PM
For International Women’s Day this year, the newly-appointed co-leads of the Citi Women Affinity Group, Latin America CEO Jane Fraser and Global Consumer Bank Technology Head Gavin Michael, explain what this day signifies for them and our firm. Citi will host over 200 IWD events in 51 countries around the globe.
Why were you excited to take over the helm of Citi Women?
JF: There’s never been a better time to lead this group and collaborate with the tremendous female talent we have across Citi. To be honest, for much of my career, I’ve resisted taking on a leadership role in the women’s initiative so I could focus on my work and my family. And like most women, I want to be chosen for a role not because I’m a woman, but because I’m good at what I do and I’m the best choice for it. I know I’m not alone in this sentiment, but there came a point when I realized that I’m not helping to build a stronger, more diverse culture at Citi by staying silent. It’s time to be bold, because there is tremendous momentum behind the work underway, and I am very excited to be part of it.
For example, last summer, we announced the new representation goals we set for our firm. They included a goal to increase our representation of females to 40% (AVP to MD levels). We have implemented various efforts to achieve our goals – and our product, function and regional leaders are continuously being measured on our progress. We set these initial goals to ensure that we learn what is and isn’t working, and use those lessons to support representation across all diverse groups globally.
In terms of pay equity, we have been transparent in publicly disclosing both our adjusted and unadjusted median pay gap. The first is whether we pay female colleagues the same as male colleagues in the same role, geography, level of seniority, among other factors. We found the gap was less than 1% globally and we closed it to 0% in January. Earlier this year, we disclosed our unadjusted pay gap, which describes the difference between median pay for all female employees compared to median pay for all male employees at Citi. The results showed that the median pay for females globally is 71% of the median for men, which reinforces the importance of our goals to increase representation of females in senior and higher-paying roles at Citi.
GM: In the wake of the #MeToo movement, several male business leaders have admitted a hesitancy to engage on diversity issues and with diverse talent for fear of misstep. Shying away is the opposite response of what we need right now. The responsibility to drive progress shouldn’t be put on or exclusive to diverse talent. At Citi, we say “it takes all of us” and, as a white male, I take this to heart.
Among the initiatives we’ve driven forward this past year, I’m particularly excited and encouraged by our Unconscious Bias Training – which 35,000 employees participated in in-person and over 80% of our workforce completed online. These types of exercises allow each of us – not just one group – to hold a mirror up to ourselves, to see and understand what our individual biases are. We all have them, but more often than not, we’re not consciously aware of what they are.
We know we have more to do to increase diversity across Citi. We can all be proud of the meaningful steps we have taken in the right direction, such as increasing the level of transparency. This example underscores our commitment to improve. Currently, more than 50% of our global employees are female, with 30% holding Board positions and 25% at the Director, MD and CCO levels.
Beyond the work underway to advance a culture of diversity and inclusion, what does Citi do to support women outside the firm?
JF: We are driving economic growth for women through many partnerships and aspects of our business. Together with OPIC, Citi has provided over $495.5 million in financing to 53 inclusive businesses in 26 countries, reaching over 1.3 million entrepreneurs, 88% of which are women. In Jordan, together with OPIC, Citi created a $5 million risk-sharing program to enable one of Jordan’s leading microfinance institutions, Microfund for Women (MFW), to provide loans to an additional 10,000 underserved Jordanian women, increasing their number of borrowers by 7% and providing real economic benefits to their families and communities. In the U.S., we work with Grameen America, which provides small dollar loans to support the financing and savings needs of women-owned micro-enterprises. Through this partnership, more than 12,000 of Grameen America’s female clients have active Citi savings accounts - most of whom, despite living in cities with extensive banking coverage, previously did not have a bank account.
GM: Another area of interest, which is important but rarely talked about, is looking at how companies purchase goods and services at a global scale. Currently, only 1% of corporate procurement contracts globally are awarded to women-owned businesses. To help address this procurement shortcoming, Citi joined forces with WeConnect International and three other leading corporations in a commitment to procure an additional $100 million from women-owned businesses over the next three years, especially from companies in developing markets. We also partnered with UN Women and WeConnect International to publish a Corporate Guide to Gender-Responsive Procurement titled The Power of Procurement: How to Source from Women-Owned Businesses. This publicly-available resource shares knowledge and best practices on how corporations can increase procurement of goods and services from women-owned businesses, with practical tools and techniques to develop more diverse supply chains.
These are just a few examples of our work and the momentum underway. As we celebrate International Women’s Day, it’s important that we all take a moment to reflect on this work and renew our commitment as we continue to advance toward greater gender parity and the continued progress of women worldwide.