Unilever, the British-Dutch transnational consumer goods company co-headquartered in London and Rotterdam, has announced a major gender parity goal accomplishment with the company having the same number of women as men in leadership roles globally.
The company has achieved the goal a year ahead of its plans to institutionalise gender balance across management.
The Anglo-Dutch FMCG conglomerate, which owns iconic global brands, such as Ben & Jerry’s, Dove, Lynx, and Magnum, said it was now run by 50% women at management level, having climbed from 38% in 2010. The company’s non-executive board has 45% women, Unilever said.
Unilever set out to address the management gender gap, particularly in departments where women were under-represented historically. Operations and technology, finance, and supply chain were departments mostly dominated by men. Currently, the percentage of female leaders in these departments now clocks in at 47%, 50%, and 40% respectively.
In the UK itself, Unilever achieved balance in 2017, but this was the first time the company had attained gender parity globally among its 14,000 managers.
The paradigm shift was ushered in by the company’s dedicated diversity and inclusion team, which has put in place a number of initiatives that include a global network of 100 “diversity and inclusion champions”, who pursue and practise an inclusive cultural idiom across the company’s markets.
Interview requirements have also been modified with a gender-balanced approach as well as a “gender appointment ratio”, a tool that assesses and evaluates the track records of senior leaders in appointing women.
Alan Jope, Unilever’s Chief Executive, said: “Women’s equality is the single greatest unlock for social and economic development globally and having a gender-balanced workforce should be a given, not something that we aspire to. We’re very proud to have reached our goal of equal representation of women and men among our 14,000 managers, but our work doesn’t stop here. We will continue to work towards equal opportunities for women and other under-represented groups both within our business and beyond.”
Aline Santos, Unilever’s Executive Vice-President, Global Marketing, and Global Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, added: “Harmful stereotypes and gender-based norms are one of the biggest barriers to achieving gender equality globally. That’s why Unilever is committed to eradicating stereotypes in the workplace and across the advertising industry. Using the influence of our brands to drive positive change in society, we hope to create a gender-equal world that allows people to be whoever they want to be.”