Procter & Gamble (P&G) recently announced a new commitment around a number of initiatives that will promote gender equality across the Indian Subcontinent, Middle East and Africa (IMEA) region. The declaration, which was made by P&G’s IMEA and APAC President, Magesvaran Suranjan during the company’s inaugural #WeSeeEqual Summit in partnership with UN Women in Mumbai, India on the 18 February, is part of the company’s citizenship focus on being a Force for Good and Force for Growth.
“Gender equality is a core belief at P&G. Creating a world free of bias with equal representation and equal voice for everyone is both the right thing to do and the right business choice.” explained Magesvaran Suranjan. “We also want to spark conversations and change mind sets as champions for the cause of gender equality across the region. We will leverage the full strengths of our business and operations, and our advertising voice to tackle gender bias and encourage women’s economic empowerment.”
Over the next 3 years:
- P&G aims to spend $100 million on deliberately working with Women-Owned Businesses in IMEA
- P&G will educate more than 23 million adolescent girls on puberty and hygiene across IMEA
- P&G and its brands will use the company’s voice in forums such as the #WeSeeEqual Summit, brand advertising like Ariel, Whisper, Always & Gillette and multi-stakeholder efforts to spark conversation and motivate change
Co-hosted with UN Women, P&G’s first IMEA #WeSeeEqual Summit brought together business and government leaders, and influencers to share inspiration and surface insights around the myths that prevent us from accelerating our progress for gender equality.
Dr. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Under-Secretary General of the United Nations and Executive Director of UN Women, said “To get irreversible progress in gender equality takes sustained, intentional action. We need to work together on this wherever those inequalities are present – in schools and offices; in the media; in sports arenas, farms, factories and houses of parliament. We’re driving for practical changes, like supply chain agreements that bring good business to women-owned companies, at the same time as we change the narratives about the place and power of girls and women in society – so they are both seen and treated as equals.”
Guest Speakers included:
- South Africa’s television star, business woman and philanthropist Bonang Matheba,
- India’s Mary Kom, Olympian and 5 Time World Boxing Champion
- Egypt’s actress and philanthropist Amina Khalil,
- Award Winning Indian Actress Richa Chadha,
- Actress & TV Personality India’s Neha Dhupia
- Indian Actor & Model Angad Bedi
P&G has been steadily working to improve gender equality by leveraging its unique strengths. Some of P&G’s achievements globally and in the region include:
- Leveraging its voice in advertising and media to tackle gender bias, spark conversations and motivate change. This includes Always ‘Like A Girl’, Ariel ‘Share The Load’, Always ‘Saudi Generation of Firsts’, and Whisper ‘Touch the Pickle’ advertising campaigns.
- Focusing on removing barriers to education for girls and economic opportunities for women through the company’s social impact programs and advocacy efforts in partnership with organizations such as UN Women, WeConnect International, CARE, Sesame Workshop and Galli Galli Sim Sim.
- Examples of current P&G programs include:
- Puberty education campaigns such as Always Keeping Girls in School in South Africa, Kenya & Nigeria and P&G Shiksha in India
- Deliberate intention to hire Women Owned Businesses in South Africa, UAE, Egypt, India & Nigeria are long standing examples of this focus.
- Internally, P&G is working to create an inclusive, gender-equal environment with 50-50 representation of men and women at all levels and all parts of the company. P&G hires women into 50% of its management across the world, and an increasing proportion of women gets promoted into leadership roles into their next assignments at the same progression as men. This is consistent with P&G’s history in IMEA.
During the one day summit, Bonang Matheba joined in discussions with Richa Chadha, Bollywood actress, Amina Khalil, award-winning Egyptian actress and Tia T. Gordon, UN Women Chief Communications and Advocacy to shed light on the baseless rules that are holding young girls and women back and to unpack the role that the media, brands and influencers can play in creating a gender equal world for the next generation.
Ms Matheba said, “To make our girls unstoppable, education is critical. I have seen the impact that education has on a girl and her community – it has a domino effect. Resilience is also key. The difference between being successful or not is usually based on whether you finish what you started. We live in a world of instant gratification and we don’t realise what it takes to make it. You need to respect and honour the hard work and the time that achieving your goals takes. You have to start at the bottom and work your way up.”
When asked what her key message was for girls and women, Ms Matheba concluded, “You need to start somewhere, and the first step is to make a decision. However, to do this you need to free your mind from limitations.”
Ms Matheba has added her voice to other important gender equality platforms, in particular in support of girls’ education, such as the 2018 #LeaveNoGirlBehind discussion at the UN General Assembly. She is also the founder of the Bonang Matheba Bursary Fund that supports tertiary education funding for girls.
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