Philippine National Bank (PSE: PNB) became the first universal bank in the Philippines to be certified as gender-equal after receiving its Economic Dividends for Gender Equality (EDGE) Certification. This recognizes the commitment of the Lucio Tan-led bank to foster gender equality in the workplace.

PNB committed to undertake the EDGE Certification in 2019 when it became the first local bank-member of the Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (PBCWE). EDGE is the leading global assessment methodology and business certification standard for gender equality. It measures where organisations stand in terms of gender balance across their pipeline, pay equity, effectiveness of policies and practices to ensure equitable career flows, as well as inclusiveness of their culture.

PNB Chairperson Florencia Tarriela said, “Our membership in PBCWE signifies our serious commitment to gender equality. We aim to identify and develop solutions to address gaps and challenges on gender equality in our employment practices and in the workplace. This is in line with our thrust to uphold the sustainability of our business through inward-looking initiatives.”

PNB received its EDGE Assess Certification (first of three levels) on March 30, 2020, joining a global community of companies and organisations that are committed to workplace gender equality.

PNB President and CEO Wick Veloso emphasized the importance of listening to their employees’ voice. “Knowing the ‘pulse’ of our own people is vital in determining where we are when it comes to gender equality,” he said. “We believe that those who work closer to the ground know best the current reality and they can give us the right kind of information we need to assess our organization.”

A major component of the assessment was an employee survey conducted and participated in by more than 40% of the employee population, which numbers about 8,266. The survey had a similar number of male and female respondents. The respondents rated their own employee experience and their perception of the Bank’s policies in relation to gender equality.

Ninety-six percent (96%) of the respondents believe that men and women are given equal opportunities to be hired. Seventy-four percent (74%) of the respondents believe that they are given fair opportunities to be promoted.

Meanwhile, sixty-two percent (62%) of female respondents and sixty-nine percent (69%) of male respondents consider themselves to be paid fairly for the work that they do. It is also generally perceived by both genders that PNB gives equal access to career-critical assignments.

Another factor that added merit to PNB’s certification was its adoption of the Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy, pursuant to Republic Act (R.A.) No. 7877, otherwise known as the Anti-Sexual Harassment Act of 1995, and Republic Act No. 11313, also referred to as the “Safe Spaces Act” of 2019. Approved in October 2019, this policy covers all bona fide PNB employees and provides the definition of gender-based harassment in the workplace.

PNB intends to revisit its policies and to continuously study possible improvements in the areas of talent management, rewards and remuneration, succession planning, recruitment, and other related fields. The Bank also aims to explore alternative work arrangements that would allow employees to remain productive while taking care of their unique life and family conditions.