5 Biggest News Stories of the Week: April 21

As the saying goes, the news never stops. In this weekly news roundup, we’ll cover the top news stories impacting American workplaces and communities. 

1. Nasdaq Board Diversity Rule Drives Surge in Inclusive Policies for LGBTQ+ Professionals

According to a report by LGBTQ+ advocacy, research and technology firm Out Leadership, Nasdaq rules that require listed companies to add more underrepresented board members have led to a rapid increase in board policies that are inclusive of LGBTQ+ professionals over the past year.  

Approximately 50% of companies listed on the Nasdaq exchange now have policies to include LGBTQ+ members on their boards, up from just 3% a year ago.  

The Nasdaq rule, approved by the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2021, requires companies to include at least one woman and a minority or LGBTQ+ member on their boards or explain why they can’t.  

Despite legal challenges against the rule, the Out Leadership study found that increased scrutiny of board diversity has significantly impacted corporate policies. 

2. A Look at the History of Earth Day

Earth Day, celebrated annually on April 22, marks the beginning of the modern environmental movement in 1970.  

The first Earth Day was conceived by Sen. Gaylord Nelson, who wanted to raise public awareness about the negative impacts of pollution on the environment and public health. This event resulted in the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the passage of several environmental laws.  

Today, Earth Day has become a global event, mobilizing millions of people in more than 190 countries to take action on environmental issues. Many people have joined the environmental movement, and Earth Day has become a major event for global action for the environment. 

Visit Fair360, formerly DiversityInc to read more about environmental, social and governance (ESG) initiatives.  

3. Employment-Population Ratio for Persons With Disabilities Increases but Still Lags Behind Those Without Disabilities

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that the employment-population ratio for persons with disabilities rose to 21.3% in 2022, up from 19.1% in 2021.  

While this number increased, it is still far off from the employment-population ratio for persons without disabilities, which was 65.4% in 2022, up from 63.7% in the prior year.  

The unemployment rate for people with disabilities was 7.6%, down from 8.2% in 2021, and the rate for people without a disability was 3.5%, down from 6% in 2021.  

People with disabilities are less likely to be employed than those without disabilities, even when accounting for age and education levels. People with disabilities are also more likely to work in service, production, transportation and material moving occupations and less likely to work in management, professional and related occupations. 

John Stenger is an example of someone who has had trouble maintaining a job. The now- Senior Manager of Corporate and Foundation Relations at the National Organization on Disability spoke with Fair360, formerly DiversityInc’s Linda Bell about their ADHD diagnosis and how it has affected their career, how they got to their role at NOD and ways employers can support workers with ADHD and other neurodivergent employees. 

Subscribe to Fair360 Enterprise to read the full article 

4. KPMG Publishes 2023 Impact Plan

KPMG U.S. (No. 11 on Fair360, formerly DiversityInc’s 2022 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list) has published its 2023 U.S. Impact Plan reporting on progress toward its environmental, social and governance (ESG) commitments.  

Key areas of progress include nearly half of new hires and partners being from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups, achieving 50% representation of underrepresented groups on the firm’s board of directors and management committee, and achieving net-zero emissions by 2030.  

The company is also investing $125 million over five years to support underrepresented groups and has set high standards for ethics and integrity in professional services. The firm’s four pillars of People, Planet, Prosperity and Principles of Governance will continue to guide its ESG strategy going forward. 

5. Accenture’s Debra McCormack Writes on Board Diversity for Fortune

What is the current state of board diversity in businesses and why is it important? 

According to Debra McCormack, Global Board Effectiveness and Sustainability Lead at Accenture (No. 1 on Fair360, formerly DiversityInc’s 2022 Top 50 Companies for Diversity list), board diversity is still a work in progress, with only 32% of board directors being women and 22% being from underrepresented racial and ethnic groups in the S&P 500 as of 2021.  

In an article written for Fortune, McCormack explains that while some progress has been made, more than three-quarters of boards still lack a woman of color. It is important for businesses to prioritize diversity, as research has found that diverse workplaces have a greater innovation mindset and companies with at least one woman on the board tend to raise more funding than those without any women.  

Diversity should not only focus on C-suite titles but also on a range of skills, work experience, culture and perspectives that can bring value to the board. McCormack writes that inclusion and equity are also crucial, and boards should strive to create a culture where all directors’ voices are heard and valued and board refreshment is a key priority.