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A chat with Dr. Awuese Oku, Chief Learning and Development Officer about EDGE Certification and what it means for the African Development Bank
1 - What is Edge Certification and why should we be excited about it?
Launched at the World Economic Forum in 2011, Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) is the leading global standard for gender equality in the workplace. The rationale is to measure through evidence-based data, progress made in mainstreaming gender in the workplace and with an organisation’s external partners. EDGE Certification has been designed to assist companies create an optimal workplace for both women and men and leverage the diversity dividends.
Certification requires a rigorous external assessment of five key areas: equal pay for equivalent work; recruitment and promotion; leadership development training and mentoring; flexible working arrangements; and company culture.
The Bank is launching the certification process for Level 1 Certification following six years of preparation. Now it is finally ready, and this is great news.
2 - How does the EDGE certification process work?
EDGE Certification has 3 levels of success:
Level 1 (EDGE ASSESS): Assesses how the Bank is making a public commitment to maintain a strong gender balance across the talent pipeline, to proactively manage gender pay equity, effectively implement gender equality policies and practices, and to foster an inclusive workplace culture with high levels of engagement by both male and female employees. At the same time, it identifies concrete action plans for further progress.
Level 2 (EDGE MOVE): Assesses if the Bank has already achieved certain milestones pertaining to strong gender balance across the talent pipeline, how the Bank is proactively managing gender pay equity, effectively implementing gender equality policies and practices, and fostering an inclusive workplace culture as revealed by the high levels of engagement by both the male and female employees. It commits to improving its action plan for even greater impact. The indicators at Level 2 will extend to the Bank’s projects at Level 3.
Level 3 (EDGE LEAD): The Bank demonstrates strong gender balance across the talent pipeline, proactively manages gender pay equity, has effectively implemented gender equality policies and practices, and has an inclusive workplace culture as revealed by the high levels of engagement of both male and female employees. At the same time, the Bank puts gender equality to work for sustainable business success. The Bank will train and lead in the certification of other partners and stakeholder organizations.
3 - How soon will this translate into results for the Bank’s female staff?
The Bank will launch the process to earn the first level of EDGE certification in March, following SMCC’s approval of implementation of the certification on 20th February.
This process involves an online assessment which examines three sources of company information: Gender Balance, Employee Engagement; Culture and Diversity. The Bank is benchmarking itself against EDGE standards and peer organizations. The Bank will develop a gender effectiveness action plan, be audited by a third -party certification body, implement the EDGE action plan and strategic roadmap and then be certified at Level 1. At the end of Level 1 the Bank should show appreciable improvement in internal gender parity across its workforce.
All in all, achieving the first level could take 9-12 months.
A Bank wide launch of the EDGE certification by the President is currently being planned.