Gender equality

Empowering women in the workplace and market
A worldwide banking presence
Standard Chartered
Banking and financial services
A presence in 70 countries, with a focus on Africa, Asia and the Middle East
Listed on the London and Hong Kong stock exchanges
No. of employees:


Standard Chartered has a strong presence in Asia, Africa and the Middle East and earns more than 90% of its operating income and profits in these regions. The bank's operating income in 2008 was US$14 billion. In 2008 the bank's total community investment commitment was US$48.5 million (US$30.4 million of which was made up of cash contributions). These cash contributions rose by 67% on the previous year, outstripping growth in profit before taxation of 13.2%.

Further information:

Dilemma: Improve women's representation in the workplace and drive the empowerment of female customers and community members

Standard Chartered is working to address:

  • Representation of women amongst its own middle and senior management
  • Challenges facing women's access to banking products and services, including access to finance for small business owners
  • The economic and social contribution of women in some of the communities in which it works

Good practice: Corporate certification based on a rigorous methodology

Some examples of Standard Chartered's initiatives under their Diversity and Inclusion programme include:

Employees: In 2007 Standard Chartered set up a Group Women's Council to drive the bank's gender diversity strategy. The Council has sponsored a 'Women in Leadership' development programme, which provides guidance and coaching to help talented women advance within the bank. In 2009, these programmes were held for women in the Middle East, Africa and Korea.

Customers: Standard Chartered has increased its focus on microfinance, of which 80% of the beneficiaries are women. Standard Chartered has also partnered with the Global Banking Alliance for Women, a consortium of financial institutions that collaborates on identifying and sharing global best practices on delivering financial services to women. The bank provides a tailor-made 'Diva' account for women in Africa. In 2008 it also launched its 'Diva Chamma' account in Kenya, which lets women invest together in clubs. The bank has women's branches in India and Pakistan, women's private banking centres in Korea and a business instalment loan specifically targeted for female entrepreneurs in Bangladesh.

Communities: In December 2008, Standard Chartered announced at the Clinton Global Initiative Asia a new commitment on women's financial literacy, focusing on Asia. The bank will use a variety of channels to improve women's knowledge of financial planning, investment, and SME capacity building.

In addition, Standard Chartered's 'Goal' programme uses sports and life skills education to support and develop confidence and skills in underprivileged young women in India. This is done through training in health and hygiene, financial literacy and communications. Standard Chartered plans to expand the programme to four more countries beginning in 2010.

Results: Increasing representation of women

Employees: Women currently make up: 46% of the Standard Chartered total workforce; 20% of global senior management positions; and 51% of the global graduate intake, including female CEOs in diverse markets such as Lebanon, Zambia and Jersey.

Customers: Standard Chartered provided 1.2 million people with microfinance loans in 2007, almost 80% of which were given to women. The Bank's Diva program has been rolled out in Botswana, Zambia, Tanzania, Uganda, Nigeria and Ghana.

Communities: Over 430 girls had taken part in the Goal programme in six communities in Delhi and Mumbai by the end of 2008. An additional 21,500 family and community members were also engaged as part of awareness-raising about issues affecting girls, including the benefits of, and opportunities for, income generation. Results of the 'Goal' programme will be monitored throughout 2009 and 2010.