8 Mar 2024
Gender Equality

Gender Equality

By EY Azerbaijan

Multidisciplinary professional services organization

8 Mar 2024

Women make up a half of the world’s population. How we as a society can ensure that they represented fairly and included in every decision and solution to our society’s problems?

EY, global consulting and audit powerhouse, believes that small actions really do make a difference and urges everyone, and not just the business community – to do their bit and inspire others to act. We spoke with EY Azerbaijan’s Talent Leader Samira Shabanova and asked her about EY's commitment to gender equality and women's empowerment, both globally and specifically in Azerbaijan?

At EY, we take gender equality and women's empowerment very seriously. These are not just trendy slogans or a tribute to the current trends. Our core values revolve around fairness, diversity, and inclusion, and these principles guide everything we do. In Azerbaijan, we're proud to say that we've achieved gender equality within our workforce. Almost half of our employees and leadership team are women, which reflects our dedication to creating a balanced and equitable workplace environment. Again, these are not mere statements, all figures back up my statements. 

What exactly are the strategies EY employs to prioritize women's empowerment?

Well, we have a comprehensive strategy in place to support women's empowerment. This includes fair hiring practices, leadership development programs specifically designed for women, and flexible work arrangements to promote work-life balance. We want to ensure that all individuals, regardless of gender, have the opportunity to succeed and thrive in our organization.

How does EY support the professional growth of women in Azerbaijan?

Over our 30 years of operation in Azerbaijan, we've employed approximately 2,000 female employees. Many of our female alumni have gone on to occupy leadership roles in various industries, both locally and internationally. We also have development programs aimed at helping women improve their transformational leadership skills, build their personal brand and develop skills such as negotiation by providing access to learning materials, online webinars and coaching sessions. " Additionally, we offer networking opportunities and participate in global initiatives focused on accelerating gender parity.

Could you tell us more about the specific programs or events aimed at attracting and supporting female candidates?

We organize events like Tea Talks, where female students can meet with our female consultants and auditors to learn about their experiences. We also offer specialized programs like the EY International Corporate Finance School for women, providing insights and education from a female perspective. These initiatives aim to attract and support female candidates and provide them with the resources they need to succeed in their careers.

How does EY promote work-life balance, especially for employees with children? We all know that life is very family-oriented in Azerbaijan….

We recognize the importance of work-life balance for all our employees, especially those with children. That's why we offer parental leave policies that support both mothers and fathers, by the way. Our goal is to help our employees effectively manage their professional and personal commitments so they can thrive both at work and at home.

How does EY ensure that its gender diversity and inclusion initiatives are really effective rather than just proclaimed policies?

Let’s not forget, EY has traditionally been an audit firm, we therefore believe in the power of figures. What’s more, we use the power of data to drive change. We regularly monitor and report on key metrics related to gender diversity and inclusion, such as the gender ratio at different levels of the organization and pay equity. This data helps us identify areas of progress and areas where more effort is needed. We also actively seek feedback from our employees through surveys to ensure our initiatives are responsive to their needs and making a tangible difference in their lives.

What are EY's future goals regarding gender parity and women's empowerment?

Our ongoing goal is to maintain gender parity at all levels of our organization, including leadership positions. We're continuously evolving our strategies and programs to support this objective, including strengthening our mentoring and coaching programs, enhancing our recruitment and promotion processes to prevent bias, and expanding our learning and development opportunities focused on empowering women. Additionally, we're committed to advocating for gender equality in the broader business community in Azerbaijan, working in partnership with other organizations and stakeholders.

In today’s business world many organizations claim their commitment to gender equality and women's empowerment. Everyone boasts about their initiatives on fostering diversity and inclusion in the workplace. But what really sets EY apart?

You’re right: gender equality has been part of the socio-economic agenda for quite some time. It pleases me to say that EY, as global powerhouse, has been on a mission to champion equality and inclusivity worldwide. We're not just about business; we're about people, clients, and communities coming together to make a real difference. This may sound like rather presumptuous, but I do genuinely believe that we’re paving the way for women to shine bright, unleashing their full potential to make the world a better place. Our secret? We're empowering women and girls through education, mentorship, and innovation. Because when women thrive, we all thrive!

Summary

In today's world, women empowerment is pivotal as it brings about positive societal changes while ensuring gender equality and inclusion, fostering economic growth, promoting education, safeguarding health and mental wellbeing, and enhancing social participation. At an organizational level, women empowerment contributes towards creation of a company culture that is characterized by trust and collaboration. Such a corporate atmosphere becomes a magnet for talent, while the existing employees are likely to stay in a firm where they feel appreciated and valued.

About this article

By EY Azerbaijan

Multidisciplinary professional services organization