Paving the Path to Economic Equality for Women Around the World

UN Women recently announced the latest group of organizations to join its Generation Equality “Action Coalitions” initiative, established to propel greater movement towards advancing gender equality. I’m so proud to count PayPal among these organizations in our role as the private sector leader for the Economic Justice and Rights Coalition. As we celebrate Women’s History Month and approach International Women’s Day, it’s an opportunity to reflect on the progress needed to truly achieve economic equality and prosperity for women around the world.

At PayPal, our mission is to improve the financial health of individuals and businesses around the world. We believe that by democratizing financial services, we can help create a more inclusive, vibrant global economy. However, as a result of the COVID-19 crisis, we’ve seen economic gains for many underserved communities – including women around the world – reverse course. McKinsey has documented the negative impact on women, particularly women of color. In September, they estimated one in four women are contemplating downshifting their career. Vice President Kamala Harris recently called this a “national emergency.” According to findings from UN Women, economic crises affect women more substantially than men for many reasons – they tend to earn less, have fewer savings, and are more likely to bear the responsibility of unpaid care and domestic work, among other factors. Since the start of the global pandemic, women’s paid labor and women-run businesses have been disproportionately impacted.

PayPal’s track record in advancing gender equality within its workforce has been longstanding, and rooted in our values. I’ve written previously about the importance of gender pay equity and equal pay being built into corporate culture. Additionally, PayPal has always had strong family leave policies and understands the integral role policies like this play in attracting and retaining women in the workforce. PayPal’s Nandita Gupta recently shared her experience of taking a break at one point during her 17-year career at PayPal to focus on her two daughters. This time allowed her to return to work focused, and helped to accelerate her career. We’re also proud to have joined a coalition advocating for the passage of the Pregnant Workers Fairness Act and have been recognized by the National Partnership for Women and Families for PayPal’s maternity leave, parental leave, family care leave and sick leave policies. 

In response to COVID-19, PayPal rolled out many benefit enhancements as it relates to time off and supporting family.

  • In March of last year, we introduced a “Crisis Leave” benefit, providing additional paid time off to help employees navigate various circumstances during this unprecedented time, including: care for a family member who has been diagnosed with COVID-19, childcare emergency situations, pregnancy, and more.
  • We have enabled flexible working schedules to accommodate our employees who are managing distance-learning or supporting personal household needs.

In supporting the health and well-being of PayPal employees – and ensuring they are consistently cared for as our priority stakeholder – we believe they have a greater capacity to innovate and will naturally better serve customers, especially during times of great need. 

With our mission at the core of everything we do, we strive to create more opportunity for entrepreneurs and small business owners to access the global economy. Our research has found that the percentage of the total share of PayPal’s working capital loans in the U.S. going to female entrepreneurs is twice the share of overall traditional small business loans going to women-owned small businesses. And throughout the pandemic, PayPal has taken a number of actions to underscore its support of vulnerable businesses, including a $535 million-dollar commitment to support Black and underrepresented businesses and communities. As part of this initiative, we have introduced the Maggie Lena Walker Award, named for the Black business leader, teacher, and civil rights activist who was the first woman to charter and run a U.S. bank. The honor will recognize and elevate the achievements of underrepresented women in business who have demonstrated a deep commitment to empowering those in their communities. 

Unfortunately, inequalities aren’t limited to women’s earnings, savings, and social protections, but there is also a massive underfunding of women’s nonprofits and the organizations that specifically support women’s issues. The Women and Girl’s Index 2020 reports that a mere 1.6% of nonprofit funds goes to support women. Collectively, we can help improve these funding efforts. We encourage you to check out our campaign page to support some of these incredible organizations working to advance women’s causes. Beginning on March 1, 2021 (at 11:00 a.m. GMT), through March 31, 2021, we’re adding 25% to donations made here up to $50,000 in matching funds (Limits, caps and terms apply).* One hundred percent of your donation, in addition to the 25% match, will go to charity in accordance with the PayPal Giving Fund Donation Delivery Policy.

Stay tuned as we continue to share updates on our economic justice commitments for women ahead of the Generation Equality Forum gathering in Paris this June. We recognize the critical role of women in the prosperity of the global economy and overall health of our communities, and PayPal will always stand up and take action to support gender equality. 

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