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Catherine Beare


EDGE Certification: Make Your Workplace Bias-Free

Take action in time for International Women’s Day

Published: Monday, February 6, 2017 - 12:00

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Although efforts have been made to create policies that support a bias-free workplace, there is still a considerable way to go toward achieving the gender equality that organizations are striving for. Due in part to a lack of clear measurement and transparency, many companies and industries as a whole are still lagging behind in the effort to have women and men equally represented, valued, and rewarded in the workplace.

Women still face challenges in the workplace that include: pay inequity; insufficient access to leadership development, training and mentoring; bias in performance reviews and promotions; and a lack of flexibility in managing caregiver commitments, e.g., the family.

According to a study conducted by McKinsey & Company and LeanIn.Org called “Women in the Workplace,” women experience significant obstacles in fields like automotive and industrial manufacturing, energy and basic materials, and technology. It is still difficult for women to advance to managerial positions in fields including logistics and transportation, healthcare and pharmaceuticals, and hospitality. Women are also locked out of senior management and C-suite positions in industries that include retailing and consumer goods, media and telecommunications, and financial and professional services. There is no denying that women still face an uphill battle in the workplace for equal rights and consideration, and there is no doubt that organizations can only increase their productivity and profits by hiring and investing in talented female employees.

Going forward, gender equality and providing flexibility for the entire workforce will be a critical and distinguishing factor for an organization’s success. Publicly demonstrating a focus on gender equality enables an organization to attract and retain the best talent, and it also leads to a high-performance workforce and reduced employee turnover. Groups with diverse perspectives and flexibility almost always outperform homogenous groups, and the accompanying improved business performance and increased innovation have been proven in research. Gender equality also leads to higher levels of organizational agility.

Furthermore, gender equality is increasingly viewed as a baseline feature of a well-managed organization. Research concludes that there is an increase in financial performance for organizations that are more gender equal. This is why more business leaders are making it a strategic imperative to close the gender gap and actively supporting their organizations to do so.

What EDGE certification can do for your organization

EDGE stands for Economic Dividends for Gender Equality and is distinguished by its rigor and focus on business impact. The methodology uses a business, rather than theoretical, approach that incorporates benchmarking, metrics, and accountability into the process. It assesses policies, practices, and numbers across five different areas of analysis:
• Equal pay for equivalent work
• Recruitment and promotion
• Leadership development training and mentoring
• Flexible working arrangements
• Company culture

As an independent, third-party assessment, the EDGE methodology guarantees the integrity of the evaluation; certifications are awarded only after independent auditors have been able to establish the accuracy of the information. EDGE is the only global assessment methodology and business certification standard of this kind.

EDGE certification embraces a philosophy of continuous improvement. It is a three-tiered certification (EDGE Lead, EDGE Move and EDGE Assess), which is valid for two years.

EDGE certification has received the endorsement of business, government, and academic leaders from around the world. Recently, at the World Economic Forum’s Annual Meeting in Davos, Bill McDermott, the global CEO of SAP, encouraged his peers to take collective action to closing the gender gap by getting EDGE-certified.

Process of becoming EDGE-certified

The process of becoming EDGE-certified begins with an assessment where data are collected for an audit, and a strategic action plan is developed. The data and action plan are then sent out for review, and an onsite auditing visit is arranged. After the findings are analyzed and reported, a certification decision is made.

Intertek was the first fully approved organization to certify companies to the EDGE certification standard for the purposes of creating a gender bias-free corporate culture. Together, Intertek and EDGE hope to close the gender gap in the workplace by conducting rigorous audits that hold companies accountable for creating and abiding by fair and equal gender policies. An EDGE certification is effective evidence to show an organization’s stakeholders that they are in compliance with policies that support gender equality in the workplace. Certification also demonstrates the organization’s achievements in a most credible way.

International Women’s Day

On March 8, 2017, show your support for gender equality in the workplace by participating in International Women’s Day festivities. Equality in the workplace is achievable, and it is a goal that must be brought forward from the back burner. Together we can make a difference by creating and complying with standards to make the workplace an equal and accommodating place for both women and men. Click here to find out more about International Women’s Day, and click here to learn more about EDGE certification with Intertek.


About The Author

Catherine Beare’s picture

Catherine Beare

Catherine Beare is the director of Intertek’s supplier management services in Europe, the Middle East, and Africa. With more than 10 years of corporate social responsibility (CSR) background, Beare oversees the support to 15 offices in the region, delivering compliance auditing services and servicing more than 100 European clients. Clients range from traditional retailers and brands to pharmaceutical, chemical, automotive, and telecommunication, which brings many supply chain challenges to the CSR agenda and expands Intertek’s knowledge and service delivery in this area.