In celebration of International Women’s Day 2016 (8th March), we have launched our gender ‘hub’. With much of our supply chain footprint in emerging markets, the empowerment of women is a key driver for Olam.
Not only does the evidence show that putting more income in the hands of women yields beneficial results for child nutrition, health and education but quite frankly, if we don’t empower women then we are tying 1 hand behind our backs in trying to achieve the volumes of product our customers require, especially as we have to meet rising demand from an ever-increasing population. Empowering women also helps to embed us in communities where we can build greater trust and loyalty. We are therefore strong supporters of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 to ‘Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls’.
In this hub we look at how Olam supports women from the female smallholders to our agri-processing workers. You will find insights from our teams around the world as to how we tackle gender issues, as well as a number of case studies.
Understanding gender issues beyond our sphere of influence
As part of our internal celebrations for International Women’s Day, we decided to augment our agri insights by trying to find out what women across the world feel about gender equality in their country as a whole. To aid the data collection process, we focused on women in processing units. The numbers cannot be said to be statistically robust but we do feel they have provided some informed insights that in turn can help our local teams and, provide something for their male colleagues to think about!
Our approach focussed on women’s perceptions of gender equality – both past progress and hopes for the future. In total, 739 women from processing units in 13 countries responded to our survey. Of these, 51% felt that women still do not have the same opportunities as men in their country.
However, there was an underlying sense of optimism – 68% acknowledged that progress has been made in the past 20 years, and 32% believe that gender equality will exist in their country by 2025.