By Jolen Anderson
Today we celebrate Women’s Equality Day – commemorating the passage of the 19th amendment, giving women the right to vote and highlighting the collective effort toward full equality for all women.
It’s a perfect day for us to unite with other companies in signing the Equal Pay Pledge to affirm our company’s commitment to close the U.S. gender wage gap. The Equal Pay Pledge was a challenge from the White House for businesses to build on the progress of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act – policies that ensure fair pay for all Americans. For this to become a reality, the commitment needs to be backed by real conversation. We are proud to be among a group of U.S. corporations that have formed Employers for Pay Equity, a private organization that will look at ways and best practices to address many of the barriers that lead to equal pay, among them unconscious bias in hiring and promotion decisions and transparency around compensation. We’re committed to championing this cause in partnership with the White House, and in parallel continually examining our own organization to ensure that we are creating the right environment where women, and all of our employees can thrive.
As Chief Diversity Officer for Visa, it’s both a personal and professional mission of mine to ensure that the promise of universal acceptance is fundamental to all we do. As a culture we proudly embrace individual differences and capabilities, recognizing and celebrating accomplishments and talents, regardless of gender, race or ethnicity.
Equally exciting for us, was the opportunity to host a special event yesterday afternoon with the Professional Business Women of California (PBWC) and the Visa Women’s Network (VWN). This event brought together an inspirational group of female leaders who shared their dedication to gender equality across government, private and non-profit sectors. Joining me in this conversation were our esteemed guests: Congress women Jackie Speier, Martha Ryan, Executive Director of the Homeless Prenatal Program and Nicole Soluri, Chief Counsel - California State Lottery.
It is powerful to be surrounded by other successful women, sharing their personal career journeys and openly discussing the real challenges faced in the workplace. Together, we can positively impact change and support one another in achieving success. In fact, we launched our Ready to Return program in Silicon Valley this year to create opportunities for those returning to the workforce after taking an extended period of time away from work to address family needs. We helped this valuable talent pool with resume writing, personal brand building and executive coaching to give them the confidence and the opportunity to shine.
It is only through taking action that we can positively reflect on days like these – when our predecessors fought for our voice and our vote and helped pave the way for even greater change.
You can also make a difference. Join the conversation around what your company is doing to make an impact – use #WomensEqualityDay or #EqualPay on Twitter or Facebook.