HeForShe speech by Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, Director and CEO of BNP Paribas, at the UN forum

On Wednesday 26 September at the UN Women HeForShe Impact Summit during the Global Goals week, Jean-Laurent Bonnafé, Director and CEO of BNP Paribas, reaffirmed his commitment as Thematic Champion of the HeforShe program. At BNP Paribas, we have made the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals part of our corporate objectives, because we consider that large companies must contribute to a more equitable and ecological world. That’s why Jean-Laurent Bonnafé is commited to increase diversity in certain business lines of the bank that have traditionally been made up of mostly women or men, as well as continue to work towards gender equality with Heads of State, University chairmen and the civil society.

«As a new HeForShe Thematic Champion, as a CEO of a large bank, and as a citizen and father, I’m personally committed to drive forward the empowerment of women.

At BNP Paribas, we have made the seventeen UN Sustainable Development Goals part of our corporate objectives, because we consider that large companies must contribute to a more equitable and ecological world.


No woman should be deprived of her ability to contribute to a better world. Women everywhere can bring about huge changes, whether in communities, in families, or in the workplace. We need to work collectively to ensure that women can leverage their skills, talent and creativity. This is an essential condition to accelerate economic development for all and contribute to a better future.

This is my personal responsibility, as a business leader: to help women and men choose a career that is not determined in advance by their gender. I also firmly believe that the more our people reflect the communities we serve, the better we will know and understand our customers.

Gender equality is at the heart of BNP Paribas’ company engagement strategy. All the management team at BNP Paribas is fully committed to fighting gender bias. Still, it is a long journey.

Around 53% of our staff are women. In terms of our top 3,000 senior management positions, 27% are held by women — up from less than 19% in 2010. In our company, people are now used to recognising leadership talent, regardless of gender. Several of our large retail banking networks, our key countries, or our global business lines are now headed by women. This was absolutely not the case in 2010.

But we are determined to do better, much better. We have already committed to have over 30% of women making up senior management by 2020, and we will deploy all our efforts to reach 40% before the end of the next decade. Women already make up 39% of our young talent development programme, which makes this objective credible. Last week, we signed a new global workplace agreement: it lays down common rules that will benefit all 200,000 of our employees around the world. Equal opportunity, equal treatment, equal pay…this is now enshrined throughout our organisation, with high standards. This agreement will, for instance, increase the length of maternity leave in 30 of the countries where we are active.

We’re also looking at parts of the bank that have marked gender imbalances. We identified two: our Global Markets business, with mostly male employees; and our Human Resources department, which is mostly female.

We decided to make a special commitment to accelerate our journey towards gender equality in these areas. We have set ourselves some targets for 2020: In Global Markets, we’re aiming for women to make up 40% of candidates for our graduate-recruitment scheme and 40% of Global Markets’ talent programme. And in Human Resources we’re aiming to increase by 40% the number of men appointed as career advisors.

As a large international bank, BNP Paribas can contribute to a better world by taking HR decisions that push the boundaries, but we can also have a strong influence through our business decisions. We run several programmes across the world to help fund sustainable growth in developing countries, through coalitions with governments, NGOs and Social Businesses. With UN Women we have decided to launch a programme that will train 30,000 women entrepreneurs in sustainable development and renewable energies all over the world.

I’m proud to stand with all of you in this room to contribute to UN Women’s effort for women’s empowerment, and to stand with the BNP Paribas teams at the forefront of the battle for gender equality. It’s an essential battle, and one which nevertheless remains difficult. So we have to keep fighting — for women, for men, for our children, for our world.

It’s by working in coalitions like HeForShe that we can drive changes at the scale needed to enable all women to contribute to a better future».

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