Unilever is committed to providing women with opportunity, empowerment and skills to ensure success; to accomplishing this through professional development; developing future leaders and work/life flexibility; and to establishing an environment that fosters diversity and, with it, the ability for every employee to bring their whole self to work.
Women make up more than 75% of Unilever’s consumer base and globally control nearly $12 trillion in consumer spending. Unilever believes that having a gender-balanced, engaged workforce that reflects the people who buy our products is critical to future growth. We wholeheartedly subscribe to the now well-established principle that more diversity of thought leads to greater innovation and business performance.
Globally, we have embedded concerted efforts in six vital areas to attract, retain and develop female talent:
·Mentoring—global and local programs specifically for women
·Networks—focus on and support women and diversity
·Flexible working—agile working supported by technology
·Career planning—programs that focus on women’s advancement
·Culture—training on the importance and value of diversity and inclusion ·Accountability—clear gender-balance targets and global scorecards at the highest levels and across regions
We are steadfast in our commitment to increase the number of women at all levels of the company. Notably, we have increased the percentage of women in management positions, on the non-executive Unilever Board and on the Unilever Executive. Currently, nearly half of Unilever employees and 37% of managers and executives are women. Both numbers are quickly rising as a result of Unilever’s efforts toward training female executives, agile working, affinity networks, child care services, tuition discounts and mentorships.
Among the numerous initiatives to expand opportunities for women are Unilever’s sponsorship of the Women’s International Networking Conference to demonstrate how women are critical to economic growth and community stability; commitment to the Millennium Development goal to promote gender equality and empower women; recruiting and training women in rural areas to act as direct-sales operators; and a decade-long dedication to improving self-esteem among young girls and women. In recognition for our long-standing commitment to gender balance, Unilever received the 2013 Catalyst Award.
Unilever’s Women’s Interactive Network (WIN)
WIN has a mission to create a positive environment for women at Unilever, improve our reputation as an employer of choice for women, and strengthen the representation of women in our leadership ranks and talent pipeline. WIN’s primary goal is to help women reach their full potential. Women also make up the majority of the African American and Hispanic affinity networks.
Gender-Balance Professional Development: Chocolate Villa
Chocolate Villa Training is for executive women who are looking to dramatically improve their professional leadership skills while increasing their organizational effectiveness and success. Attendees of Chocolate Villa leave the training with a deep-rooted network of executives, motivation to excel and new wisdom to inspire innovation in their fields.
Developing Future Leaders:
Unilever’s North America e-Mentoring team has managed successful mentoring programs in the past three years with the scope and number of participants increasing each year. The programs resulted in a quarter of the high-potential women participating in the program achieving promotion to a vice president or senior vice president role.
Unilever has adopted an agile working environment globally. This ensures that employees have the right tools to work with maximum flexibility, especially helpful to women caregivers. Technology in employee’s hands provides the agility required for both on-the-move and remote access work, enabling higher employee productivity.
U-FAM (Unilever Fathers and Mothers)
Unilever aims to create a working environment supportive of family life. Our working parents’ network connects employees at all stages in their careers and parenthood in order to offer mutual support and cultivate work/life balance. U-FAM also endeavors to add the voice of working parents to Unilever’s brand messages and leverage insights to connect consumers with our brands.
Empowering Working Mothers
To help with child care needs, there are tuition discounts at day care centers nationwide and a backup care program. There are seven employee resource groups that serve moms. We were honored to receive recognition as a Working Mother 100 Best Company for our commitment to progressive workplace programs, including child care, flexibility and paid family leave.