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Marks & Spencer, H&M and Adidas in Forbes best companies for women 2023 ranking

By Sharon Camara


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H&M storefront. Credits: Courtesy of H&M

How do you define the best companies for women? Those who take the initiative for their well-being and development? According to Forbes magazine, these are companies that offer flexible working arrangements, skills development programmes, family leave options and a mission that is aligned with women's empowerment. This list of criteria is, of course, non-exhaustive.

At a time when the International Labour Organisation estimates that 47 percent of the world's workforce is made up of women, compared with 72 percent of men. And while female employees tend to hold lower-quality jobs, Forbes wanted to shine a spotlight on the good performers, those companies which, through their policies, are succeeding in developing women. To do this, the magazine teamed up with market research firm Statista to draw up a ranking of the world's best companies for women in 2023.

In the fashion industry, Marks & Spencer was the first company to feature in the ranking. The British retail chain, which employs over 72,000 people, came in sixth, and was directly followed by H&M, the Swedish fashion giant that employs 106,522 people. Intersport then came in eighth place, Adidas in 10th place, while the PHV group came 27th. In 35th place was Zalando.

Luxury brands not at the top of the rankings

Far behind, Chanel came in at 65th place, followed by Gap. The French brand, owned by the Wertheimer brothers, is the first luxury company to appear in the ranking. Proof that, according to the women surveyed for this ranking, working in the luxury sector is no guarantee of having the ideal conditions for professional advancement. Another luxury brand, France’s Hermès, is ranked 81st.

To compile this list, the two organisations questioned some 70,000 women working for multinationals in 37 countries. Participants were asked to indicate whether they would recommend their employer to friends or family members, and to rate the company both on general workplace practices and on gender-related issues, including pay equity between men and women, handling of cases of employee discrimination, and whether men and women have equal opportunities for promotion.

It should be noted that the ranking, which takes into account 365 international companies, is dominated by a French company. With 9,327 employees, the insurance company La Maif is in first place among the best companies in the world for women in 2023.

Marks & Spencer