Schneider Electric, the leader in digital transformation of energy management and automation, demonstrated progress toward its inclusivity goals by furthering the Diversity and Inclusion agenda with the announcement that 100 percent of Schneider Electric country presidents, in all markets with 10 employees or more, have endorsed the UN’s Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs).
Schneider Electric becomes the first multinational company to achieve the unanimous commitment from all its country leaders. Under the WEPs, Schneider Electric aims to continue to pursue gender equality at the workplace while also promoting empowerment and advocacy in the business markets. This is being done by adopting global best practices such as equal pay initiatives, access to energy training, and developing the next generation of young talent with university student interns gaining real-world experience. Schneider Electric believes that diversity and inclusion breed innovation, creativity, engagement, collaboration, and high performance — all necessary ingredients for a successful workplace in an increasingly competitive and complex world.
Hanan Darwish, Cluster President – Gulf and Pakistan, Schneider Electric said: “We at Schneider, have always been convinced that a gender-balanced and diverse workforce performs better than a homogenous one. We take great pride in being be part of an organization where equal opportunity exists for everyone, everywhere. This is sincerely embraced at all levels, embedded in our culture, and increasingly becoming recognized in the communities in which we operate. Over the past 17 years, I have worked across different geographies in diverse and progressive roles in human resources, Energy Business, Corporate Strategy, and, most recently, leading the Gulf and Pakistan operations. This has truly been a testament to Schneider Electric’s belief and commitment to diversity and inclusion as a key pillar for growth, and I’m excited to continue on this journey.”
Schneider Electric’s business strategy is also aligned with McKinsey & Company report that shows a clear correlation between gender diversity and company performance. According to the report, women speak better to women, who are deciders, key leaders of communities and influential change agents in society.
“We collaborate with and compare Schneider Electric to other companies on common goals and benchmarks. We also align our business priorities on shared standards, including the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and committed ourselves to the HeForShe campaign, in order to accelerate our progress. Recently, for International Women's Day, under the theme of #BalanceforBetter, we also applauded the UAE and the Arabian Gulf's public and private sector initiatives to champion women in the workplace”, said Darwish.
There are three ways in which Schneider Electric pursues its commitment to gender equality around the world;
First, is promoting gender equality at every level of the company: Women making up over 20 percent of Schneider’s global leadership and setting goals to make that up to 30 percent by 2020. By the end of 2018, nearly 40 percent of Schneider’s new hires were women. As of 2019, 46 percent board members are women, and three out of five major P&L are led by female executive committee members.
Building a culture beyond the numbers and creating a more diverse environment, where everyone enjoys working together, is not something to declare, it is something to build. At Schneider, employees are also engaged in internal hidden bias learning programs, which builds awareness of these biases and educates employees on how to be more inclusive leaders, team members, and colleagues. The intention is to build a wider community where people understand each other’s differences, support each other, and feel a sense of belonging.
Second strategy is to accelerate gender equality and energy access globally: It is part of our mission at Schneider Electric to provide opportunity and energy access to everyone, everywhere. To achieve this goal, we train women in electricity and energy management in many countries as part of our Access to Energy program and increased investments to prioritize science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) education to continue to attract more women to STEM fields. For example:
- In Egypt, Schneider works towards integrating women into the workplace through our Female Technician Hiring Program.
- In Ghana, Schneider collaborates with Village Exchange Ghana to train women through the Lady Volta Vocational Center and provides technical skills that allow the women in the program to become qualified electricians.
- In Brazil, Schneider provided entrepreneurial support and vocational training to women to become electricians and start their own businesses.
Third, is all companies should be mobilized when it comes to inclusion: As a member of the board of the UN Global Compact, Schneider believes that the business community can take collective actions to increase inclusion and provide greater opportunities for education, economy, and advancement for women everywhere.
Schneider Electric has been recognized by Equileap, Bloomberg, and most recently by Catalyst, for leadership on gender equality and inclusion. This acknowledgement is a strong validation of our global strategy and our vision to move forward together. In celebration of the many remarkable achievements of women, we persuade everyone to challenge themselves to become catalysts for gender equality and call at every possible occasion for a more gender-balanced world.