GENDER PARITY

Unilever strikes gender balance in managerial jobs

Women managers on the rise at Unilever

In Summary
  • Unilever has achieved gender balance across a management team of 14,000 employees.
  • The firm also emerged winner of the prestigious 2020 Catalyst Award for initiatives that have accelerated progress for women in the workplace.
Justin Apsey, Unilever East Africa MD
Justin Apsey, Unilever East Africa MD

Global consumer goods firm Unilever has attained gender balance, with equal representation of women and men across a management team of 14,000 employees.

“We’re proud to have reached our goal of equal representation of women and men among 14,000 managers, and we will work towards equal opportunities for women and other under-represented groups.” Unilever’s chief executive officer, Alan Jope said.

The company’s workforce is closing the gender gap with 50 per cent women at the management level globally, up from 38 per cent in 2010 and a non-executive board of 45 per cent women.

 

Unilever scooped the  2020 Catalyst Award for initiatives that have accelerated progress for women in the workplace.

The consumer goods firm was selected for inclusion in the Bloomberg gender-equality index 2019, which comprises companies committed to transparency in gender reporting and advancing women’s equality in the workplace.

The index includes 230 companies from 10 sectors headquartered across 36 countries. Collectively, these firms have a combined market capitalization of $nine trillion and employ more than 15 million people – including seven million women.

“In a country where women account for only 22 per cent of managerial positions, we have achieved 52 per cent women in management representation and we are proud.” Unilever East Africa MD Justin Apsey said 

Tools used to drive gender equity in recruitment include; gender-balanced interview slate requirements, robust diversity and inclusion goals, and the gender appointment ratio - a measurement that tracks senior leaders’ records in appointing women.

In the private sector, the proportion of leadership positions held by women in Kenya stands at 22 per cent. 

Only four in 62 of chief executive officers of companies listed on the Nairobi Securities Exchange are women and only three, or five percent, of these firms, have women as chair of their boards of directors, a report dubbed according to the Gender Equality in the workplace report by NSE.

 

However, the proportion of women on the boards in Kenya continues to improve – increasing slightly since 2017 and almost doubling since 2012.

Unilever has made progress in departments where women have historically been under-represented, with finance reaching 50 per cent women at management level globally, and the firm’s operation and technology engine, now at 47 per cent.

Supply Chain has delivered change, having achieved 40 per cent female representation in management.