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Looking for Companies That Support Equal Opportunities for Men and Women? Try Retail.

By Teisha McRae – Oct 7, 2016 at 6:01AM

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The resignation of female CEOs in the past week at American Apparel and Lands' End inspired a look at InHerSight's retail ratings -- which revealed some interesting findings about the opportunities for women in the retail space.

Image source: Getty Images.

At, women rate their companies on 14 different metrics that we broadly group into Career Opportunities, Family Support, and Personal Development categories. While retailers often get lower scores in the areas of Family Support and Personal Development, many stand out in their Career Opportunities for women, possibly because many retail workforces are dominated by women.

We've put together a list of five companies that get high scores on InHerSight specifically for offering equal opportunities for men and women. (When defining "equal opportunities," InHerSight asks women to consider promotions, leadership roles, salary increases, incentive programs, and more.)


4.1 of 5 stars in Equal Opportunities for Men and Women | More ratings

We would work at Starbucks for the Pumpkin Spice Lattes alone, but there is so much more that the coffee chain has to offer. Aside from Starbucks' promise to pay employees' college tuitions via certain programs, the company is also devoted to "creating a culture of belonging, inclusion, and diversity." Work for Starbucks and join their Women's Development Network, a program that "gives [company] partners the opportunity to strengthen connections, share knowledge, develop professionally, and create forums for education, community, and professional development."

One InHerSight reviewer commented:

"Starbucks is not afraid to promote women. They treat women fairly and are very flexible."


4.0 of 5 stars in Equal Opportunities for Men and Women | More ratings

Upscale fashion retailer Nordstrom is another company guaranteeing equal opportunities for its employees. According to Nordstrom's Diversity Factsheet, in 2012 71.1% of the company's total employees were women, and 71.7% of managers were women. In line with that data, Nordstrom ranks high on InHerSight for its "Management Opportunities for Women." It's no wonder that Fortune named Nordstrom one of the "10 Best Companies for Women" in 2015. If the company's obvious commitment to equality doesn't have you ready to fill out an application, it might help to know that they also cater to millennials.

Barnes & Noble

4.0 of 5 stars in Equal Opportunities for Men and Women | More ratings

Barnes & Noble considers themselves to be a company that is "firmly committed to providing equal opportunity in all aspects of employment." According to InHerSight ratings, they're putting their money where their mouth is. Barnes & Noble is rated 4.0 / 5.0 in InHerSight's "Equal Opportunities for Men and Women" category. America's largest bookstore chain has proven itself to be more than a hub for literature and coffee -- it's also a company pushing the agenda to create equality for women in the workplace.

One very satisfied rater on InHerSight wrote:

"I have always felt that I was treated equal to my male coworkers. I feel supported by my management team and coworkers."


3.8 of 5 stars in Equal Opportunities for Men and Women | More ratings

Gap is all about closing the opportunity gap for women. The worldwide clothing and accessories retailer instituted equal pay for equal work years ago. In April, Gap launched its #CloseThePayGap campaign, encouraging other companies to follow their lead. The campaign innovatively illustrates how the gender pay gap impacts women by using visuals comparing money to clothes. Gap also won the 2016 Catalyst Award for its Women and Opportunity initiative -- a strategy created "to align all efforts related to women, including employees, customers, supply chain workers, and women within the broader community." It's no wonder that Gap rates 3.8 in our "Equal Opportunities for Men and Women" category. Read more about how Gap is advancing working women here.


3.7 of 5 stars in Equal Opportunities for Men and Women | More ratings

Target proved its dedication to creating equal opportunities and fairness in the workplace long before it became one of the new signatories on the White House's Equal Pay Pledge. America's second-largest retailer has a reputation for going the extra mile to make sure that customers and employees feel welcome and comfortable in its stores. So, it's no surprise that the corporation makes our list. Target treats its employees equally and offers opportunities for upward mobility -- InHerSight reviewers have reported that Target is a company that ensures management opportunities for women. "Plenty of opportunities to grow here," one reviewer writes, "Thus far, I would say Target is a very progressive place to work." (Their employee discount is a bonus, too! Just don't spend your paycheck all at once.)

If you're currently searching for a job in retail, you can find comfort in knowing that the companies listed above will strive to create a fair experience -- and just as many opportunities as your male counterparts. Do you work for a company that is taking initiatives to create gender equity in the workplace? Share your experience with us by rating your company on InHerSight.

Teisha McRae is a social media marketing coordinator and freelance writer in Raleigh, N/C. When she finds time to step away from the keyboard, you can find reading books or working on writing one of her own. Follow her, @TeeM_Cee on Twitter.

Teisha is a contributing writer for InHerSight, whose mission is to improve the workplace for women by measuring it. InHerSight brings women's insights together into a common framework to show what's working and what's not at companies, and to help more women find their ideal workplace.

This article originally appeared at InHerSight.

The Motley Fool has an ownership interest in InHerSight. Motley Fool CFO Ollen Douglass serves on the Board of Directors for InHerSight. InHerSight has no position in any stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Starbucks. The Motley Fool recommends Nordstrom. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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