How can business most effectively support women’s economic empowerment, through their value chains and beyond?


(Jonathan Horrell) #61

Mondelez International's Cocoa Life program incorporates training of program field staff and managers of implementing partner organizations on gender principles and key tools to strengthen women’s leadership. As we implement our Community Action Plans, direct interventions are being implemented by partner NGOs to build women’s participation in community development committees and to train women to adopt leadership roles alongside their male colleagues.

Nicky Major said:

In response to question 2 on How can companies’ internal policies and practices contribute to greater economic empowerment for women 2 quick comments.

Having policies and processes in place to support women in workplace is vital. We know that gender balance does not just happen within most businesses. It is vital to have policies and process in place to be able to measure and monitor a diversity profile. Having that will create some positive impact. But that isn’t enough – you need proactive action such as sponsorship of women from the leaders of the organization to ensure they are positioned to take up leadership positions when they become available. It is about the level playing field.

Diversity on its own isn’t enough. You have to have an inclusive approach too. It is about making a diverse population thrive. Valuing the differences and making everyone feel included so they can bring the best of themselves to their roles.


(Margaux Yost) #62

In response to question 2:

Our HERproject program in Ethiopia is pioneering how to shepherd suppliers in the supply chains to train management on gender sensitive management, accompany them in drafting and adopting a GBV policy and rolling it out through the help of a Gender Committee composed of low-income women workers. Involving both parties (workers and management) in this process is key to making policies be put into practice.


(Tania Beard) #63

Much like the discussion around the importance of the business case for companies to integrate women in their value chains, Dalberg's work advising multi-national companies in talent management have showed that companies need to see the economic case for a diverse workforce, with the research showing that more diverse workforces benefits your bottom line. In addition to this, as Irish Bohnet says in her recent book 'What works: gender equality by design' - the social justice argument is also important - it's just the right thing to do


(Alex MacGillivray) #64

CDC is convening the Africa List, a network for the next generation of CEOs. It's true that too few senior management and boards in Africa have genuine diversity - just look at KTDA for a classic example http://www.ktdateas.com/index.php/about-us/ktda-board.html - but we are finding that the next wave of leaders are far more representative. www.africalist.com


(georgie) #65

Women represent half of the talent available to organisations in most countries. For multinational companies such as Diageo, talent is recognised as a critical asset and a fundamental driver of corporate performance and winning the "war for talent" is a major focus and in some cases a significant challenge in some developing countries. There has been much focus on equality at board level which is key, however it is essential to effectively manage the entire talent pipeline to meet a company’s talent needs and meet their innovation, production, distribution and customer service ambitions. We’ve set targets to help us progress - Diageo is the FTSE 100 company with the highest number of women at the most senior levels. 45% of our Board Directors and 40% of our Executive team are women. A more balanced leadership team means broader conversations and better decision making – we’re aiming for its leadership teams to be 35% female by 2020. Performance currently at 28%.

Hester le Roux said:

SESSION 1, Q2: How can companies’ internal policies and practices contribute to greater economic empowerment for women?


(Tania Beard) #66

To quote the CEO of Intel who has been making great strides to hire more diverse workforces, data is absolutely key. "When it comes to “doing” diversity and inclusion, we need to measure what matters: hiring rates, exits and turnover, progression and promotion rates, and pay parity. Tech companies need to share this data publicly, because transparency drives action."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/acm-the-association-for-computing-machinery/you-start-doing-diversity_b_9933550.html


(Ekanath Khatiwada) #67

Thanks Pravez,

I think you have touched a very important and sensitive issues of unpaid labor within the value chains. It has been a big debate that how we can account unpaid care work at enterprise level. I think this could be a bigger policy level issues we have to work on .



Parvez Mohammad Asheque said:

Thanks Hester for asking. CARE Bangladesh is actually contemplating scale-up of this initiative by engaging with another market leader in the dairy sector of Bangladesh. The potentials for scale-up is massive, since private companies are looking for complimentary invest to organize and mobilize communities and develop community based service provision to extend their business models. What is an important take way here is how we improve the ecosystem for a particular product or service, and how effectively women are part of that ecosystem.

Hester le Roux said:

Thanks for that excellent example Parvez. What is the scope for replicating this initiative in another sector, or escaping it up to increase reach and impact?

Parvez Mohammad Asheque said:

Hi, I am Parvez , Director Private Sector Engagement at CARE Bangladesh.

There has to be first of all an appreciation among business leaders that everybody wins when you invest on women. Women are often not even part of formal value chains, rather part of unpaid labor within the value chain. It is not as straightforward as one would like, to see through that women are actually engaging productively in value chains and more importantly benefiting equitably from their engagement.

For companies, they have to make deliberate attempts to ensure that women are participating in value chains, and gainfully. This is where NGO and private sector co-creations and collaborations can work out. My colleague Gerry Boyle has talked about the Dairy Value chain experience in Bangladesh. To add to that, animal rearing has always been a household occupation where women would engage, but that never constituted a primary source of income for the household or an economic role for the women. This is where CARE and BRAC Dairy partnership has mad all the difference. By introducing digital fat testing, fair price (and much higher than what they would get earlier) has been ensured.

The value chain of milk collection for processing has fully fledged and become efficient as a result of CARE’s complimentary investment (through private foundation’s social investment) side by side BRAC’s core business investment. BRAC being the lead firm has benefited from the investment that has offered it the risk capital to venture into this new business model, while as many as 30,000 households (75%of the participants are women) have permanently scaled out of poverty, generated economic and social wealth to improve their livelihoods by investing on health, education and other essential social services. A new cadre of service providers, called collection point managers, have emerged who are facilitating transactions between the milk processing units and households who produce milk through animal husbandry. Collection point managers, offer aggregation points as well as fat testing provision paving the way for transparent terms of trade for the individual households based on quality of milk. Extension services in the form of inputs, feed, vaccines and animal health services have emerged through a social franchise of micro entrepreneurs.


(Parvez Mohammad Asheque) #68

Internal policies and practices of companies reflect on the values and culture the business leaders promote. When leaders recognize that by investing on women they actually contribute to advancing their societies and maximise social gains- a lot of positive changes can be initiated through enabling policies and practices. For example, fewer than 5% of the managerial positions are held by women in the readymade garment sector of Bangladesh, where two-thirds of the 4 million employees/workers are actually women. Employers, and employees alike, perceive that men have better supervisory skills when in reality[1] male and female trainees have similar skills and abilities - though males tend to have more self-confidence. A few policy and practices can transform the situation to the benefit of the employers and greater good of the female workforce in the sector. First of all, an organization will need to have an open mind to provide equal opportunities to women to become managers. Employees’ perceptions that women are not capable of becoming supervisors change after they have actually worked with a female supervisor. Another aspect is about self-confidence of women, fixated by social norms and structures women tend to feel weak and shy away from leading. Leadership and life skills training greatly enhances women’s voice and capabilities to lead. A company policy has to take a holistic view of women’s empowerment, craft policies and practices so that women have access to equal opportunities.



[1] Training for the Future: Female Supervisors in the Bangladeshi Garment Industry, a research report (2015) by University of Warwick, in collaboration with Innovations for Poverty Action (IPA) and German Development Cooperation(GIZ)


(Nicky Major) #69

As well a policy and process in the work place we need to help people understand their unconscious biases. Everyone has them - but it is about understanding them and managing them so you can take deliberate steps to ensure they don't negatively impact any activity.


(Hester le Roux) #70

Turning now to our third question:

SESSION 1, Q3: How can business use external marketing and customer engagement to support women’s economic empowerment?


(georgie) #71

We’re making progress through leadership from our CEO, the formation of a global cross functional collaborative diversity working group; engagement programmes providing business leaders with guidance and tools to embed diversity and inclusion. Policies and practices to support the achievement of this goal included hiring practices requiring balanced gender shortlists for leadership positions, leadership training designed to accelerate personal leadership growth and performance, enabling them to make the necessary shifts to enhance performance of themselves and their teams. Diageo’s Future Leaders programme targeting early/mid-career is designed to strengthen and diversify the company’s global leadership pipeline. 50% of the graduate intake is women.


(georgie) #72

We know that role models and networks are important – for example Diageo’s Spirited Women’s Network - a physical and online support network for women and men to facilitate mentoring and coaching relationships, providing opportunities to shape our inclusion and diversity agenda, creating possibilities and the conditions for all people to succeed. It operates in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, India and Hungary.

georgie said:

Women represent half of the talent available to organisations in most countries. For multinational companies such as Diageo, talent is recognised as a critical asset and a fundamental driver of corporate performance and winning the "war for talent" is a major focus and in some cases a significant challenge in some developing countries. There has been much focus on equality at board level which is key, however it is essential to effectively manage the entire talent pipeline to meet a company’s talent needs and meet their innovation, production, distribution and customer service ambitions. We’ve set targets to help us progress - Diageo is the FTSE 100 company with the highest number of women at the most senior levels. 45% of our Board Directors and 40% of our Executive team are women. A more balanced leadership team means broader conversations and better decision making – we’re aiming for its leadership teams to be 35% female by 2020. Performance currently at 28%.

Hester le Roux said:

SESSION 1, Q2: How can companies’ internal policies and practices contribute to greater economic empowerment for women?


(esther arthur) #73

Hi Nicky, Esther Arthur from the INGO Sightsavers. I think you make a great point that diversity isnt enough, you need to have an inclusive approach. What are your thoughts on internal policies expanding the definition of inclusion to reach women with disabilities who are often faced with double discrimination and arent granted access to empowerment porgrammes?


(Gerry Boyle) #74

Nicky, agreed but do you have deliberate policies to tackle unconscious biases as well as asking people to understand them? E.g. have you changed promotion and recruitment policies to overcome unconscious bias?

Nicky Major said:

As well a policy and process in the work place we need to help people understand their unconscious biases. Everyone has them - but it is about understanding them and managing them so you can take deliberate steps to ensure they don't negatively impact any activity.


(georgie) #75

Policies are key but so is the behaviour change to support that - our Kenya team again have an Anti-discrimination Policy, which aims to celebrate diversity and reduce and remove prejudice or harassment. they recently implemented a Sexual Harassment Policy to protect women and men from sexual harassment and discrimination, further supported by their Health, Safety and Personal Security Policy which is about creating a safe and secure work environment. They are promoting education, training and professional development for women by sponsoring middle and senior managers to participate in a four day “Women in Leadership Programme” with Strathmore Business School (Kenya)

georgie said:

We know that role models and networks are important – for example Diageo’s Spirited Women’s Network - a physical and online support network for women and men to facilitate mentoring and coaching relationships, providing opportunities to shape our inclusion and diversity agenda, creating possibilities and the conditions for all people to succeed. It operates in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, India and Hungary.

georgie said:

Women represent half of the talent available to organisations in most countries. For multinational companies such as Diageo, talent is recognised as a critical asset and a fundamental driver of corporate performance and winning the "war for talent" is a major focus and in some cases a significant challenge in some developing countries. There has been much focus on equality at board level which is key, however it is essential to effectively manage the entire talent pipeline to meet a company’s talent needs and meet their innovation, production, distribution and customer service ambitions. We’ve set targets to help us progress - Diageo is the FTSE 100 company with the highest number of women at the most senior levels. 45% of our Board Directors and 40% of our Executive team are women. A more balanced leadership team means broader conversations and better decision making – we’re aiming for its leadership teams to be 35% female by 2020. Performance currently at 28%.

Hester le Roux said:

SESSION 1, Q2: How can companies’ internal policies and practices contribute to greater economic empowerment for women?


(Tania Beard) #76

We just wrapped up a fascinating piece of work advising a global multinational on diversity policies and practices - what we found is that unconscious bias is a real barrier to women being recruited, developed, and retained. Leadership to create the right corporate cultures underpinned by real-time data to help develop and retain minority employees is key.


(Hester le Roux) #77

Around a quarter of the 148 respondents to the DFID Survey have policies on responsible advertising, such as against objectifying women or perpetuating gender stereotypes. Can anyone share some examples of truly effective programmes that challenge stereotypes and promote empowerment?


(Alex MacGillivray) #78

Women in Business is a programme set up by DFCU bank in Uganda to do exactly that. dfcugroup.com/women-in-business GBA-W is doing a great job of persuading other banks globally to design better products for women customers.


(georgie) #79

Policies that address the burden of care – for men and women for example implementing paternity cover and creating the cultural environment that makes it acceptable and expected for men to take advantage of that cover, helps to change the mindset that parenting is a shared responsibility. It is vital that we move beyond labeling this as a ‘women’s issue’ and instead reframe it as a business issue which involves all voices.



georgie said:

Policies are key but so is the behaviour change to support that - our Kenya team again have an Anti-discrimination Policy, which aims to celebrate diversity and reduce and remove prejudice or harassment. they recently implemented a Sexual Harassment Policy to protect women and men from sexual harassment and discrimination, further supported by their Health, Safety and Personal Security Policy which is about creating a safe and secure work environment. They are promoting education, training and professional development for women by sponsoring middle and senior managers to participate in a four day “Women in Leadership Programme” with Strathmore Business School (Kenya)

georgie said:

We know that role models and networks are important – for example Diageo’s Spirited Women’s Network - a physical and online support network for women and men to facilitate mentoring and coaching relationships, providing opportunities to shape our inclusion and diversity agenda, creating possibilities and the conditions for all people to succeed. It operates in North America, the United Kingdom, Ireland, South Africa, India and Hungary.

georgie said:

Women represent half of the talent available to organisations in most countries. For multinational companies such as Diageo, talent is recognised as a critical asset and a fundamental driver of corporate performance and winning the "war for talent" is a major focus and in some cases a significant challenge in some developing countries. There has been much focus on equality at board level which is key, however it is essential to effectively manage the entire talent pipeline to meet a company’s talent needs and meet their innovation, production, distribution and customer service ambitions. We’ve set targets to help us progress - Diageo is the FTSE 100 company with the highest number of women at the most senior levels. 45% of our Board Directors and 40% of our Executive team are women. A more balanced leadership team means broader conversations and better decision making – we’re aiming for its leadership teams to be 35% female by 2020. Performance currently at 28%.

Hester le Roux said:

SESSION 1, Q2: How can companies’ internal policies and practices contribute to greater economic empowerment for women?


(Alex MacGillivray) #80

Just a fortnight ago, Habib Bank in Pakistan launched its Nisa card.