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Why empowering women is vital to a successful business

Source | LinkedIn : By Gerald Kühr

At Unilever, we are committed to equality, fairness and respect. Gender equality sits at the heart of the many initiatives we have in place across the company because we recognise the many benefits empowering women brings to every business. As Chief Customer Officer at Unilever, based in The Netherlands, I continually see first-hand how gender diverse teams achieve better results. In this blog I focus on this and describe just some of the ways we are closing the gender gap.

At the end of 2016, women comprised 46% of Unilever’s management team, up from 38% in 2010. Three women sit at the very top, on the Unilever Leadership Executive today: Leena Nair (Chief HR Officer), Ritva Sotamaa (Chief Legal Officer) and Amanda Sourry (President, Foods). I am proud to work for an organisation with a 100% gender-balanced Board.

The business, economic and social case for employing more women in leadership positions is made clear time and time again. According to a McKinsey report on gender parity, USD12 trillion could be added to the global economy by closing the gender gap.

However, there is clearly a great deal to be done before there is a fair and representative playing field for women across the globe. Statistics show women earn on average just 77% of their male counterparts. A disproportionate number of men are at the helm of global corporations; just 4.6% of the chief executives at S&P 500 companies are women and only seven women head up FTSE 100 companies.

We are bucking that trend at Unilever because we understand that empowering women brings huge benefits to the business and on the social front is critical to eradicating poverty and accelerating global development.

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