The Women’s Foundation of Greater St. Louis is set to roll out its third Women in the Workplace Employment Scorecard, a voluntary rating system for businesses based in the St. Louis area.
Employers have from Oct. 7 until Dec. 20 to answer questions about their policies and outcomes around gender equity in four areas: leadership, compensation, flexible work policies, and retention and recruitment.
“This is the right time for this conversation in our region,” said Lisa Weingarth, the executive director of the advocacy organization. “What we’re finding is that employers are communicating that they’re ready to do better for women and families. They just don’t know what to do.”
The foundation patterned its survey after the Human Rights Campaign’s Corporate Equality Index, which addresses the treatment of LGBT employees and has led to policy changes across many industries.
Weingarth said the Women in the Workplace scorecard is one of the first gender-focused surveys in the United States to be done on a local level, with participating companies that range in size from fewer than 50 workers to large institutions such as Washington University. She has presented the findings of the previous two surveys at national conferences.
In the scorecard’s first year, about 20 employers responded. In 2018, there were 60 participants. This year, Weingarth is hoping to have at least 100. Companies can find the sign-up link to the survey on the foundation’s website, wfstl.org.
In January, the women’s foundation will honor companies “that create an environment where women can thrive,” according to the rating criteria.
The foundation is looking for at least 25% of leadership positions filled by women; starting pay higher than the state minimum wage; paid sick time that can be used to care for dependents; and advancement programs aimed at recruiting women, among other criteria.
Washington U., the St. Louis Zoo and the Missouri Foundation for Health are among the employers that received honors in the scorecard’s first two iterations.
“We have continued to refine the survey year after year,” said Weingarth. “We are looking at entry-level positions to the C-suite — how they are treated.”
One change she has seen in the past few years is that paid family leave has become more common. Policies that benefit women, she said, actually benefit all employees and their families.
“We want to see all of these policies offered to anyone,” she said.