MINNEAPOLIS – David MacLennan, CEO and chairman of Cargill, has joined a group of current and former CEOs and leaders in business to launch the Paradigm for Parity coalition. The organization has committed to achieve gender parity at all levels of corporate leadership by the year 2030.

"Cargill is proud to be among the first to sign on to the Paradigm for Parity," MacLennan said in a statement. "We believe inclusive teams deliver value, and we are committed to doing the important work to make gender parity a reality. Whether it's diversifying the board room or providing opportunities for women working on the frontlines of food, agriculture and nutrition, we are taking action to build a company where employees thrive. "

Cargill understands the effort involved in creating gender parity and has taken steps to advance that effort in recruiting, retaining, developing and promoting women that include:
•In 2015, for the first time, the company named three women to its 10-person executive team.

•The Cargill Women's Network (CWN), a corporate-sponsored resource group with chapters around the world, is expanding and driving change throughout the company's operations.

•Based on its inclusive policies and hiring practices, and the local CWN's work, the prestigious annual Working Mother Media and AVTAR survey named Cargill one of the 100 best companies for women to work in India.

•Cargill is a founding member for the relaunch of the INCAE Business School's Leadership Center Collaborative and Women's Network (CLCM), aimed at giving greater opportunities to professional women in Latin America.

•Cargill offer benefits such as flexible work policies, mothers' rooms for nursing mothers, special programs for female engineers, and up to six weeks of unpaid parental leave per birth or adoption of a child for all parents in the US, regardless of their applicability for the Family Medical Leave Act.

Paradigm for Parity has developed a five-point plan to serve as a catalyst for change and push progress toward gender parity by 2030.

1. Eliminating or minimizing unconscious bias in the workplace.

2. Significantly increasing the number of women in senior operating roles, with the near-term goal of at least 30 percent representation in all leadership groups.

3. Measuring targets and maintaining accountability by providing regular progress reports.

4. Basing career progress on business results and performance, rather than physical presence in the office.

5. Providing sponsors, not just mentors, to women well positioned for long-term success.

Ellen Kullman, Paradigm for Parity co-chair says the agenda is “a new norm in corporate leadership positions,” that affords men and women equal status, power and opportunity.

"Powerful evidence links gender-balanced leadership with financial and stock market outperformance," Kullman said. "We are proud to partner with 27 major corporations to take definitive action to create the gender balance that will generate those tangible benefits."

Other company CEOs that have joined Paradigm for Parity and made the commitment to follow the action plan include: Accenture, Adecco, American Electric Power, APCO Worldwide, AstraZeneca, Bank of America, Cargill, The Coca-Cola Company, DSC Logistics, Edison International, Egon Zehnder, Farient Advisors, Frontier Communications, HealthHelp, Huffington Post, Linkage, LinkedIn, McKinsey & Company, MetricStream, NeoGenomics Laboratories Inc., Newmont Mining, Nordstrom, SAP, Spencer Stuart, TDIndustries, VF Corporation and Voya Financial.