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BNP Paribas Assurance expands gender equality initiatives in partnership with NGO “Aide et Action”

BNP Paribas Assurance (unavailable link) has been formally committed to an active Corporate Social Responsibility policy since 2006. The company promotes diversity and places particular priority on fighting against all forms of discrimination and on promoting equal opportunity regardless of origins, age, disabilities or gender.
In the area of gender equality, BNP Paribas Assurance is reaching beyond initiatives taken within the company itself to provide support for the “Aide et Action” association (an international NGO that promotes development through education), helping educate young girls in disadvantaged countries.

A partnership that resonates with a broad commitment to diversity

BNP Paribas Assurance's diversity policy is defined in a “Commitment Diversity” document circulated to all staff around the world. This document lays out the fundamental principles to be respected in the fight against discrimination and sets concrete objectives for equal opportunity.
Respect for these commitments is ensured by a Diversity Committee, chaired by Eric Lombard, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of BNP Paribas Assurance. The Committee oversees application of the company's diversity policy.
As part of this policy, BNP Paribas Assurance pursues proactive initiatives to ensure gender equality. These efforts earned it the “Equality at Work” label from certification body AFAQ-AFNOR in June 2008.
One example is a program designed to make up the difference in compensation levels between women and men :
- Employees who have taken at least two maternity or adoption leaves since being recruited by the company.
- Part-time employees already with the company when the agreement took effect.
- Employees who have been working at BNP Paribas Assurance for 10 years or more.
In place in France since 2008, this program has been allocated 220,000 euros in funding.

Partnership to improve access to education for young girls in disadvantaged countries

The BNP Paribas Assurance's position in terms of gender equality is satisfactory: 45 percent of managers (in France) and 36 percent of the members of the General Management Committee (World) are women. At the same time, BNP Paribas Assurance is committed to advancing gender equality outside the enterprise as well, particularly with support in areas where there is a significant and sometimes critical need for access to education.

This is why BNP Paribas Assurance is delighted to forge a partnership to support programs managed by the NGO Aide et Action, which facilitates access to education for women and young girls in disadvantaged countries. Support will center on West Africa, a region where diverse economic and cultural factors make education for young girls a critical priority.
The partnership will fund four projects in Benin, Mali, Niger and Senegal for a period of three years. This aid will enable future students to receive a complete, quality education in a healthy, secure environment. This will equip them with essential assets to allow them to become active stakeholders in every aspect of family, economic and social life.

“Access to education for women and young girls ultimately leads to an additional 0.8 percent in GDP growth (Source: Africa Partnership Forum – September 2007) in the African nations where we are providing support,” notes Laurence Pessez, Director of Corporate Social Responsibility for BNP Paribas Assurance. “This significant impact on the economic development of these countries encourages us to help them address the issue of gender equality. We have decided to provide support for Aide et Action since this association has effective educational programs for girls in some of the world's most disadvantaged countries.”

Claire Calosci, managing director of Aide et Action International, added: “Young girls with an education have twice the chance of escaping the plague of AIDS. Their revenue potential rises 10 to 20 percent for each year of education they complete. Education of girls and women is one of the most effective instruments in the fight against malnutrition and infant mortality. It's important for us to have an enterprise such as BNP Paribas Assurance commit to supporting our efforts to educate women and young girls.”

About BNP Paribas Assurance
BNP Paribas Assurance (unavailable link) is the Life and Property & Casualty insurance unit of BNP Paribas. It develops and markets products and services under two commercial brands. Products distributed through the BNP Paribas retail branch network in France are branded BNP Paribas. Those distributed by other channels in France and in international markets are branded Cardif.
BNP Paribas Assurance is the world leader in creditor insurance and the fourth-largest life insurance company in France. Its life and non-life insurance units have received an AA rating from Standard & Poor's.
It had gross written premiums of 18 billion euros in 2007. With operations in 41 countries, BNP Paribas Assurance generated 43% of its 2007 gross written premiums outside the BNP Paribas group and 39% of gross written premiums outside France. It counts over 7,000 employees, more than 60% of them outside France.

About Aide et Action
“Aide et Action” association is an international development organization established in 1981 that works in 22 countries in Africa, Asia, Latin America, the Caribbean and Europe. Through some 120 different programs, Aide et Action and its partners help improve access to education and the quality of education for over 5 million children and adults. Aide et Action is a state approved NGO and has been certified by the French committee on donations to charitable organizations. It counts nearly 63,000 sponsors and donors. Certified by the French Ministry of education, Aide et Action is committed to a world where dignity is guaranteed for all and to changing the world through education. The organization has no political or religious affiliation. All its work is anchored in a belief in the values of freedom, respect, solidarity, fairness and integrity.