IWD: Nestlé holds talk, as it continues to empower women
Nestlé is committed to enhancing gender- balance in its workforce and to empowering women across its value chain. This commitment was highlighted by the Managing Director of Nestlé Nigeria, Mr. Mauricio Alarcon, in his keynote address during the during the International Women’s Day talk at the company’s headquarters.
The company’s efforts to drive gender balance and women empowerment ties in with this year’s UN International Women’s Day theme: “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030,” which focuses on rallying support to change the world of work into a more gender inclusive environment.
In 2016, Nestlé launched the Diversity and Inclusion Framework, which encompasses all aspects of diversity. Gender balance remains the main focus of the company, but is complemented by other areas such as striving to create a cross-generational and multicultural environment.
This year, Nestlé Central and West Africa Region (CWAR) is driving the theme: “Leading Together, Women and Men of all Generations,” which brings both genders together to discuss how Nestlé can accelerate its Diversity And Inclusion journey across all countries in the region which includes Nigeria. Women empowerment conferences and workshops were organized across he region. In Nigeria, the team hosted a talk with three panelists: Funmi Victor-Okigbo (FVO), Chioma Omeruah (Chigurl) and Adefunke Adeyemi who inspired women to be intentional about their lives, get organized, learn to understand themselves, own their career aspirations and blend every area of their lives to create the life they desire.
The discussants built on Mr Alarcon’s call on women to be involved in creating a more gender- balanced environment in Nestlé Nigeria. Over the years, Nestlé has put measures in place to address the most critical concerns of women in the workplace. To drive this in a more structured way, the Nestlé CWAR Parental Policy, which is based on the International Labour Organization (ILO) Maternity Protection Convention and the global Nestlé Maternity Protection Policy, was launched across the region in 2015. The policy includes 14 weeks paid maternity leave with the right to extend maternity leave by up to six months, flexible working arrangements and a conducive work environment to breastfeed. Nestlé CWAR currently has four breastfeeding rooms available at its sites, including Nigeria, for nursing mothers. The work on driving gender balance and women empowerment goes beyond the direct employees. In collaboration with the Fair Labour Association (FLA), gender awareness trainings have been organised to open up more opportunities for women.
In rural communities, thousands of women are reaping the rewards from Nestle’s farmer education and technical assistance to improve farming practices, increase the yield and quality of grains and legumes produced. In Nigeria alone, over 2223 small-holder women farmers were trained and supported in 2016.
Nestlé Central and West Africa Region’s continued efforts are part of the company’s 42 commitments that have been set out to support the accomplishment of three ambitions by 2030.