Banking on Women: Gender Intelligence for Banks - Moving the Needle on Gender Equality
Pakistan has the second largest gender gap, ranking 143 out of 144 countries in the gender equality index. Habib Bank Limited (HBL), as the largest bank in Pakistan, has made a comprehensive effort to address gender equality for both its women employees and women customers. HBL has rolled out several initiatives, including encouraging internal diversity, developing a sales focus on women, launching the HBL Nisa brand platform, and undertaking the Gender Intelligence Training Program, which was mandatory for management and all other employees.
A study examined the differences between employees who have undergone training compared to untrained employees. Over 13,000 HBL employees (out of a total of more than 14,000) were surveyed, with branch level data analyzed for the years 2014-2016. The findings of the analysis show that:
- Gender Intelligence training led to a measurable increase in positive gender awareness among the trained population compared to the untrained population;
- There were positive effects observed among trained employees with regards to support for women at HBL and the confidence level of women. Indicators included improved perception of equal workplace performance capacity and improved confidence to apply for the next grade position;
- Training outcomes cross-referenced with sales data also showed that branches whose managers have been trained in gender intelligence outperform branches with untrained branch managers in terms of increased women’s deposits;
- Training needs to be part of a comprehensive strategy to work, especially in the face of deep-rooted value systems that may only change with time.