Saluting women. Today and every day.

People By Richard Williams, Chief People Officer Mar 7, 2021

Every woman across the world will be celebrated on International Women’s Day (IWD) – honoring their personal, social, economic, cultural, and political achievements worldwide.

We salute the women who have emerged from the margins to become decision-makers and essential contributors to their families and communities’ social and financial well-being. For Western Union, this is true both within our global workforce and among the customers we serve. Just over 50% of our global workforce are women and, together, we move money worldwide for a nearly equal customer base; 49% of customers that send cross-border money transfers are women, and they send a higher proportion of their personal income to their homelands. We are proud of the powerful role women have across our business, not just today, every day.

This recognition feels more critical this year, in the face of multiple studies showing the disproportionate impact that COVID-19 has had on women relative to men as it relates to the sharing of the family, personal and professional responsibilities, and how this, in turn, is leading to women dropping out of the workforce in more significant numbers.

Our talent strategy is designed to attract and retain the best employees. Supporting our employees during the COVID crisis has meant, among other things, doing everything we can to lessen the stress and burden felt by parents as they try to juggle work, childcare, and home.

We instituted work from home for most of our employees in March 2020. We created internal resource centers, sharing resources and tips for employees on how to work remotely effectively: how to manage time, how to balance personal and work demands effectively, and how to remain productive while taking care of mental and physical health. We offered additional benefits for our employees, including company-subsidized childcare and online tutoring support. Western Union offered 1000 tickets for employees to attend the SheCare Wellness Summit – a virtual summit devoted to the ultimate health and wellness of women in the workplace. We have continued to partner with SheFactor to keep the conversation going with speakers from the summit participating in the Women@WU Speakers Series through April. We were encouraged to end 2020 with 82% of our employees indicating satisfaction with our COVID-19 response.

Beyond the pandemic, for Western Union, IWD is an opportunity to celebrate women’s progress and accomplishments at all levels of our organization—and there is plenty to celebrate.

This year, Western Union was included on the Bloomberg Gender-Equality Index for the second consecutive year. This is considered the gold standard for companies worldwide to demonstrate their commitment to equality and advancing women in the workplace. Some examples of that work in 2020:

  • We continued to move toward meeting our representation goal of 40% women in leadership positions. As of the end of 2020, we have reached 38%, up from 35% in 2019 and 31% in 2015
  • 40% of our Executive Team is comprised of women
  • Our 11-member Board of Directors includes three women

While we are proud of this success, we recognize there is more work to be done. Our commitment remains to raise the number of women’s leadership positions, drive employee diversity, and create an even more inclusive workplace and belonging.

Our view is that diversity is an essential factor in driving innovation and performance. In that vein, building a diverse workforce and breaking down barriers to advancement are priorities for Western Union.

We are building on our diversity and inclusion initiatives through several programs. We examine the current diversity among our leaders – this includes building leadership programs focused on women. We educate ourselves by integrating more bias and equity topics into our training and communications programs, and we are creating a diverse and inclusive recruiting plan to ensure that our workforce is not only diverse, but has the support of our leaders with ally, mentor, and sponsorship programs.

Women@WU, a program launched in 2015 as an employee-led team to advise executive management on steps the Company could take to promote women’s advancement, continues to perform an essential role in advancing our Diversity, Equality, and Inclusion strategy as a part of our goals.

Western Union, as a company, and its leadership up to and including the board is committed to nurturing and enhancing its diversity, inclusion, and equity in multiple ways, across multiple constituents, and geographies. Encouraging diversity of perspectives and experiences is no small part of our strategy to remain a global leader. Ensuring all employees feel that their contributions are respected and valued is not just an essential part of our talent strategy—it is a critical part of our plan for success.