Colored pencils forming a circle by  Petr Kratochvil

Women's Power & Influence Index: Criteria and Methodology


Version 1.0 of the Index relies upon a number of criteria, many of which are ranked on the basis of what matters to women at the workplace (based on survey data) as well as the availability and quality of data.

Criteria Categories


To better understand a company’s commitment to gender pay equity, we thoroughly examine whether the company has explicit pay gap policies and initiatives working to eliminate the gender pay gap. 


Career growth is being measured by examining equity in the overall workforce participation, leadership positions, professional development programs, and recruitment.

To better understand workforce diversity, we measure the proportion of women to men in the workplace as well as the number of women in leadership positions. Though the Index takes women participation in the workforce into account at all levels, we pay particular attention to the number of women in leadership roles at an organization – those defined as “Exec/Sr. Officials and Managers” by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

We also look at whether an organization encourages women to surmount the unique challenges women aspiring to leadership must contend with. Towards that endeavor, we look at whether an organization has formalized female specific mentorship opportunities, professional development programs, and written commitments to attracting women to work at the organization.


Data around sexual harassment is notoriously difficult to find for a variety of reasons, yet it remains one of the most consequential determinants of the power and influence of women at the workplace. We measure, in particular, the existence of clearly defined anti-sexual harassment policies and how broadly defined these policies are (for instance, whether they encompass physical, sexual as well as psychological harassment and violence prevention). We also look at the existence of policies mandating discrimination training.


Despite advances in other areas, women still bear the lion’s share of the burden in childcare and other traditional domestic responsibilities outside of work. Therefore, it remains important to measure whether organizations support women at the workplace with childcare and other family-related benefits and in what manner (e.g., daycare services or subsidy bonuses etc.). Additionally, we examine maternity leave, paid time off, and work flexibility. 


We measure whether an organization provides health benefits specifically on the basis of gender, particularly health benefits that meet the unique needs of women in the workforce.


An organization that publicly supports gender equality is already taking a step in the right direction so we also look at how an organization presents itself to the world. Do they publicly support initiatives that drive gender equality and women’s empowerment amongst their constituents and customers?


Each criterion is weighted based on survey results from women, in a variety of workplaces, indicating what criteria is most important to them. Because this index is geared towards women rather than organizations, it is crucial to call attention to what empowers women in workplaces.

Using these standards, companies are evaluated and rated based on Equal Employment Opportunity data (EEO). Companies’ websites and public information such as shareholder reports, newsroom pages, and website information are also used to determine satisfaction of criteria. Because of the lack of available data, the decision was made to only rank companies that had at least two years of public EEOC data and sufficient information to determine scores for 75% of the criteria. The analysis is then amassed and used to determine a ranking of the organization based on the scores, weights of the categories and scores given to other companies. Companies who did not meet the available data requirement remain unranked. The data, references, and methodology are then triple checked for accuracy by students and faculty and the scores are then converted into letter grades.

These rankings and breakdowns based on the criteria of each organization will be released on the Difference Engine website and reexamined every year based on new employment data and information. Along with the scores, descriptions of the criteria, listing of sources referenced, and unranked companies will be available. Low-scoring and unranked institutions will have the opportunity to work with the project to improve their scores in a virtuous cycle of long-term systems change.