Promoting gender equality throughout our value chain in Colombia

Women of the leadership team in Colombia

Women have an indispensable role in companies, the economy and society. At Unilever, we recognize the importance of offering people the freedom and opportunity to develop their capabilities, regardless of their gender. Indeed, one of the pillars of our strategy is to help build a more fair and inclusive society, and we know that our foundation must be an equitable workplace that recognizes the dignity and worth of each of the people who are part of our value chain.

For this reason, today we celebrate that at Unilever Colombia we have achieved gender balance in our board of directors, with 50% of the positions held by women. We are also closing the gender gap in managerial roles with 53% of managerial positions covered by female talent. This is the largest representation of women in leadership positions in the history of our company in Colombia.

In addition, as part of our commitment to promoting gender equality and the empowerment of women, we recently adhered to the United Nations Principles for the Economic Empowerment of Women (WEPs), which offer a comprehensive framework of measures in order to continue working for gender equality. Since 2010, UN Women and the United Nations Global Compact have led this initiative consisting of seven steps that we will adopt as a company to continue promoting and empowering women inside and outside our business. These principles are:

  1. Corporate leadership at the highest level
  2. Gender equality in the workplace
  3. Health, safety and well-being of all employees.
  4. Education, training and professional development for women
  5. Business development, value chains, marketing and production with equality
  6. Equality through community initiatives and advocacy
  7. Measurement and reporting of processes in favor of gender equality

Our vision of a more equitable world extends far beyond our own factories and offices. We are working hard to generate better living conditions for women in our extended chain in Colombia through programs such as Shakti, an inclusive micro-distribution project with which we offer training and additional income opportunities that has already benefited more than 10,000 Colombian women - most of them mothers head of the family - in 463 rural localities of the country.

In addition, in 2019 our brand Dove won the UN Women's Equal to Equal Award, thanks to its non-sexist advertising work that promotes cultural transformation and the elimination of stereotypes. As we transform our advertising and brands, make products more sustainable and inclusive, and promote diversity in our extended chain, we are also working to achieve equity, diversity and inclusion in everything we do. We have the Equity Labor Equity Certification, promoted by the Ministry of Labor of Colombia and the Presidential Council for Equity for Women, which seeks to identify and eliminate inequalities and barriers in labor matters in the country.

Now, by being part of the WEP Business Community, we reaffirm our commitment to the empowerment of Colombian women. In the words of Andrés González, general manager of Unilever Colombia, “by adhering to the WEPs we continue to promote gender balance within our leadership areas and the empowerment of women in the workplace, the market and the community. We will continue to create employment opportunities for Colombian women and provide them with the tools so that they can fulfil their potential”.

Pursuing and promoting gender equality is not just about doing the right thing. It is also a good practice for companies. The full participation of women at Unilever attracts talent, increases our competitiveness, helps us meet our sustainability commitments and fosters sustainable development in the countries where we operate.

While we are proud of our achievements in gender equality, we know that many of the barriers, prejudices and structural inequalities in society are still present and perpetuate inequality in Colombia. With our transformational approach we will actively address discrimination issues, promoting equity for all through a culture that highlights the value of inclusion and diversity.

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