As an organization that supports credit unions as values-based financial institutions, it’s only natural that we support International Women’s Day. Not as a demonstration of social responsibility, but because it’s inherent in our nature.
The journey towards inclusion is a long-embedded part of the credit union identity. After all, credit unions were the first financial institutions in Canada to offer loans to women without requiring a male co-signer.
We continue to recognize the value and importance of women and are stepping up in a number of ways to lower the existing barriers that stand in our collective way as we progress towards gender parity. Today, Central 1 is making a $2,500 donation to the YWCA Metro Vancouver who have worked tirelessly since 1897 to achieve women’s equality and help lift women and families out of poverty, providing the best start for children and creating new opportunities for education, employment and leadership.
There is massive potential and innovation to be unlocked when we create a more inclusive work environment. Research shows that when we invest in gender equality, our workplaces become happier, more highly engaged, more productive, and more profitable. What Central 1 sees here is a true alignment of a values and business case.
We have an ongoing, growing, deliberate action plan at Central 1 that includes:
Our Powering Women initiative
We created ‘Powering Women’ to inspire, support, elevate and empower women at Central 1, the credit union and cooperative sector, and our communities. Empowering women is powerful. Simple, but true. Today, we know it is the key to economic growth, political stability, social transformation and business success.
Central 1 sponsors high potential female leaders in Minerva’s ‘Women Leading the Way’ leadership program. The program is grounded in the principles of values-based leadership and brings together a network of powerful individuals ready to take their leadership to the next level in alignment with their strengths and values with recognition of how the path to leadership is experienced differently by women.
Cooperative Development Foundation (CDF)
Central 1 supports various CDF programs. Last year, we hosted a female leader from Kenya as part of the Women’s Mentorship Program. Women from around the world are hosted in placements at credit unions across Canada to discover and share knowledge and experiences on the day-to-day operations, policies and services that they will take back and apply in their home countries.
We continuously look at investing in programs to bring awareness and create opportunities to grow our leaders. So far this has also included visiting speakers to lead all employees on the path to discovering their “why” and understanding concepts like unconscious bias.
We’re proud to support organizations such as Women in Tech and Women in Payments as they build the future for women in those industries so closely linked to our business. We’d also like to take a moment to applaud all of the excellent work our partners and members do in this area by virtue of the values-based leaders they are. Thank you for the work you do.