Unilever announced today that it has achieved gender balance across management globally, a year ahead of the target it set itself. With a higher representation of female managers than ever before, Unilever’s workforce is closing the gender gap with 50% women at management level globally, up from 38% in 2010; and a non-executive Board of 45% women.
Unilever has particularly made progress in departments where women have historically been under-represented. Finance has reached 50% women at management level globally, and UniOps, Unilever’s operations, and technology engine, is now at 47%. Supply Chain has delivered the biggest step-change, having achieved a 40% female representation in management.
Unilever’s gender balance milestone follows a long-standing commitment to drive gender equality in the workplace. A dedicated Diversity & Inclusion team has implemented several initiatives, including a Global Diversity Board and a network of nearly 100 ‘Diversity & Inclusion Champions’, who have set the benchmark for how a community can power an inclusive culture across markets. Tools are also being used to drive gender equity in recruitment, including gender-balanced interview slate requirements, robust Diversity & Inclusion goals, and the Gender Appointment Ratio – a measurement which tracks senior leaders’ records in appointing women. Unilever is also driving the Unstereotype Alliance convened by UN Women, which aims to eliminate harmful stereotypes in the workplace and across the advertising industry.
Alan Jope, Unilever’s Chief Executive Officer 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.”
Leena Nair, Unilever’s Chief HR Officer said: “If half the population are being held back, how are we all going to move forward? A thriving society is one where women have equal access to rights, skills and opportunities. Women constitute the majority of our consumers and we owe a lot of our success to them. What we’ve achieved is testament to the work of thousands of people across our business who are able to fully unleash their potential because they feel valued and included.”