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Global management consulting and professional services company Accenture announced that it will achieve a gender-balanced workforce, with 50 percent women and 50 percent men, by 2025.

"We believe strongly that gender equality is essential for a high-performing, innovation-led organization," said Pierre Nanterme, Accenture’s chairman and CEO. "Diversity makes our business stronger and more innovative and, most important, it makes the world better. With this new goal, we are sending an important message to our people and our clients that our future workforce is an equal workforce."

Currently, Accenture has 150,000 women, nearly 40 percent of its global workforce. Over the past several years the company has set milestones on the path to gender equality. These include: setting a goal to reach 40 percent women new hires by 2017 - and achieving it a year early; promoting its largest percentage of women to the managing director level in 2016 (30 percent); and growing its percentage of women managing directors to 25 percent globally by 2020.

Accenture has taken a number of steps to attract, retain, advance and sponsor women on its path to achieving a gender balanced workforce, including sponsoring a global executive leadership program for the company’s most senior women. Since its inception six years ago, approximately 80 percent of the women in the program have been promoted or have significantly expanded their areas of responsibility.

Accenture is also delivering on a commitment to transparency. The company has set and published clear, measurable targets to grow its number of women, and has published its workforce demographics in many countries including the U.S., Canada, South Africa, Japan, India and ASEAN countries.

The company is also launching initiatives that provide women with in-demand skills. For example, the company’s Women in Technology program helps fast-track the careers of high-performing women toward the position of Technical Architect, a high-demand and short-supply role. In addition, Accenture is collaborating across business and government to further gender equality in the workplace, with commitments that include the White House Equal Pay Pledge, Paradigm for Parity, and Catalyst CEO Champions for Change.

"We embrace diversity as a source of creativity and competitive advantage," said Omar Boulos, regional managing director of Accenture in the Middle East and North Africa. "As we work toward ‘50 by 2025’, globally and in the Middle East region, our goal is to create a truly human environment where people have a real sense of belonging, where they can show up every day, be who they are and be their best, both professionally and personally."