The world becomes a more progressive place when women are given equal opportunities as men enabling them to harness their full potential. This belief is reflective at our workplace where we have women’s representation in every field. From our manufacturing sites to all kinds of roles at the head office, women constitute a major part of our workforce enabling us to fulfill our commitment to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and Be a Force for Good.
However, women’s representation at work comes with responsibility, the greatest being truly embracing equity. This year’s International Women’s Day theme is “embrace equity”, making it critical for all to understand the difference between equity and equality.
While equality means each individual or group of people is given the same resources or opportunities, equity recognizes that each person has different circumstances, and allocates the exact resources and opportunities needed to reach an equal outcome.
Making Women Feel Valued, Supported and Respected at Work
At Nestlé, we aim to ensure women feel supported, valued, and respected at work - that their presence is not only crucial to justify diversity figures but what they bring to the table reflects in our business results. Over the years, we have actively strived hard to create a gender-balanced leadership, by increasing the proportion of women in managerial positions, including in our most senior executive posts.
These claims aren’t just restricted to paper. From our Chief Financial Officer to the Head of Strategy and the plant manager for one of our factories, women lead business on multiple fronts for Nestlé Pakistan and deliver unprecedented results due to their expertise and skills.
Embracing Equity at Work in Different Ways
We ensure our practices reflect equity at the workplace. Head of Human Resources Hajra Omer highlights that Nestlé Pakistan is constantly working towards leveling the playing field at work for women to perform their best. “When we began encouraging more women to enter the sales function, our business results showed great value for their impact, but we quickly assessed why most women are hesitant – there were multiple logistical barriers that men didn’t have to face. To remove one of them, Nestlé began offering a driver’s allowance to women in the field”.
While this is just one example, Nestlé Pakistan is constantly channeling energies and efforts to evaluate its equity practices. To enable women to work at factories and sites, the company has hostel facilities on sites. “As excited as I was at the prospect of pursuing my passion of working in the technical field, when I was first offered a role at the Sheikhupura Factory, I was worried about how it will work out. Nestlé’s safe and secure accommodation on site made it easier for me to move and take up a role that helps me grow everyday”, says Imtisal Aemen Khan, Tead Leader Supply Chain in the Waters category who moved from Bahawalpur for her professional growth, learning and in pursuit of an unconventional career.
Similarly, the Nestlé Lead Management Trainee Program helps young women get the right mentorship and coaching to kickstart their careers “In university, one gets to learn theory, but the workplace is where one truly learns how things work in the industry. This is where the right mentorship from experienced professionals and industry experts can be monumental in the initial learning of a young person’s life. As part of the Lead Management Trainee Program at Nestlé, I get to benefit from this firsthand. In just a few short months, I've been entrusted with leading impactful projects in a highly collaborative and flexible work environment”, says Zahra Ejaz Management Trainee Finance who moved to Lahore from Karachi begin her career at Nestlé.
Helping Women Balance Work and Life
Nestlé truly understands that flexibility for men and women looks very different because of their roles at home. When a company embraces equity, they have to offer the kind of flexibility that women need to fulfill their personal and professional roles at the same time. Maham Mansoor, Innovation & Renovation Manager, who has two kids coming to the daycare, benefits from the policies that allow for flexibility. “Both of my kids started coming to the Nestlé daycare while they were still infants. Having such a facility onsite has given me that mental peace which allows me to focus on my work while knowing that the kids are in a safe environment right across the building”.
At the same time, the company also believes in supporting women who decide to take a break from their careers when they transition into motherhood. Nestlé's 'Returnship' or 'Phir Se Kar Dikhao' program is exclusively for women who have been on a long career break and wants to return to the corporate world. “For many mothers like myself, taking a break when they transition into motherhood is crucial and the only way organizations can truly embrace equity is, when they understand this and not let the career break end women’s careers. I’m grateful to Nestlé for helping me transition back to work and restart my career. Ever since I have rejoined work, I feel more like myself again”, said Fatima Butt, Recruitment Specialist who joined Nestlé as a part of Nestlé’s Returnship Program in 2018 after a five-year break.
Embracing Equity – an Important Part of Nestlé’s Culture
According to Nestlé Pakistan’s Diversity Champion Masam Abbas, these are only some of the ways in which the company ensures it embraces equity at the workplace particularly for women. “Embracing equity is very important to drive diversity & inclusion - two values that are integral to Nestlé’s culture and we strive to embrace it every day through our policies and practices”.
For International Women's Day and beyond, let's all fully #EmbraceEquity.
These efforts are in line with UN’s Sustainable Development Goals: 5 – Gender Equality and 8 – Decent Work and Economic Growth.