International Women’s Day celebrated at Nestlé Middle East: Women Empowerment in Action
Nestlé Middle East is celebrating International Women’s Day with palpable progress in its commitment to Gender Balance, which shuns quotas in favor of a system that hones talents and creates favorable work conditions to empower women. It also ensures all people within the company have equal opportunities to evolve their careers.
“Gender Balance is not about quotas or giving women special treatment, but ultimately about creating favorable working conditions to ensure the broadest representation of diverse talents across all levels in the company,” said Christine Geary, Human Resources Director at Nestlé Middle East.
The commitment to “be a gender-balanced company by creating enabling conditions in our work environment to achieve annual increases in the percentage of women managers and senior leaders” was announced in the 2015 Nestlé in Society report for the Middle East, and is on the agenda of the company's top management.
Gender Balance at Nestlé Middle East involves several initiatives to empower women, including providing maternity leave of up to six months, three paid and three optional unpaid, and extending paternity leave to five days. In addition, employees benefit from flexible working hours and part time working options, making it easier to better manage family and work requirements.
All senior managers at the company receive training on gender balance awareness and leadership, to help eliminate unconscious bias and promote an environment that embraces diversity and fosters an inclusive culture.
A mentoring program for men and women was launched in 2014 to help hone talents within the company in order to encourage personal and career evolution, so far mentoring 50% of high potential female managers.
All this has led to significant progress in the percentage of women in total managerial positions in the region, rising from 16% in 2011 to 26% at the end of 2015. In addition, today four women are part of the top management committee at Nestlé in the Middle East.
“Gender balance for us makes business sense, as we must take advantage of existing and emerging talents whereby the majority of college graduates are women, and lean towards an internal culture that adequately reflects the reality of our consumers, 80% of whom are also women,” concludes Geary.
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