As Executive Vice President for Global Marketing, championing gender equality in the workplace and advertising is a top priority for Aline. In the last two years, she has been responsible for leading Unilever’s gender balance efforts, aiming to increase female representation in management. On International Women’s Day, Unilever launched the ‘Unstereotype-Changing Mindsets’ programme that aims to remove the limiting power of stereotypes and unconscious bias in the workplace. Aline works with external organisations including INSEAD and Harvard to study the market for the most progressive ways of working to incorporate into Unilever’s policies. Recognising the power of partnerships to accelerate progress, Aline led an initiative with United Nations Women to unite industry leaders to tackle the widespread prevalence of stereotypes in the advertising industry. In 2017, 24 global companies including Facebook, Google and Diageo, came together to make Unstereotype a reality cross-sector and to create impact at scale. She also plays an active role in the Women’s Network Forum, chaired by Her Royal Highness, The Countess of Wessex, focussing on driving gender balance in UK corporates. Aline is a mentor with The Mentoring Foundation on its FTSE Next Generation Women’s Leaders Programme which helps companies develop their talent pipeline.
In Leena’s tenure, Unilever’s female representation at managerial levels and above, has moved from 38% to 47% in the last 7 years. Their ambitious programme includes metrics led governance and a robust repeatable model to drive the recruitment, development and retention of women at Unilever. Their holistic efforts have been recognised by multiple bodies including by BITC and they consistently feature on the Times Top 50 Employers for women in the UK. Some of the key initiatives that have made this possible focus on investing in the development of their people, maternity and paternity support, agile working policies, and putting a focus on women in STEM. Externally, Leena’s personal mission is to inspire 1 Million women with the message of what is possible when they apply themselves to their dreams. She speaks at every possible opportunity to groups of young women, attending over 100 external diversity related engagements in 2017 alone. She has driven the participation of Unilever in the HeforShe UN campaign and they are one of the 10 Impact ambassadors for the program. Leena also serves on the World Economic Forum Steering Committee on the Future of Education, Gender and Work.
Rakesh is the Board sponsor for RB’s DARE programme, which was launched in 2015 and is focussed on Developing, Attracting, Retaining and Engaging talented women at RB. Their ambition is to double the number of women in senior management positions, a key strategic objective for him and his management team. In 2017, 24% of their senior managers were female, up from 20% in 2016. A series of DARE initiatives are already contributing to this change and include an RB Parental leave policy, a ‘Working From Home’ policy, and also a ‘Stay In Touch’ policy, so that mums can keep in touch with the company during maternity should they wish. 400+ mothers joined RB’s Maternity Webinars in 2017, a support network which was Rakesh’s original idea. He has sponsored a mentoring program, and champions Lean-In circles for women, where they can share and grow together. This year he is launching the ‘HE Dares, SHE Dares’ RB initiative, which encourages RB males to be allies for their female colleagues and champion women’s development.
Keith has been a champion of women’s empowerment and diversity throughout his whole career. Since becoming CMO of Unilever in 2010, he led the creation of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan (USLP), pioneering new ways of integrating sustainability into the business and increasing Unilever’s positive social impact. The USLP includes a commitment to empower 5 million women by 2020 as Keith is a strong believer that a world where women are economically empowered will be a fairer, happier and more prosperous place to live – and that society and business will flourish in it. To achieve this Keith has been a strong advocate for building a gender-balanced organisation – including mentoring Unilever’s top female executives, promoting safety for women in communities where Unilever operates, enhancing access to training and skills for women and expanding opportunities within Unilever’s retail value chain. Keith is also passionately committed to tackling stereotypes in advertising – gender and beyond – through Unilever’s #Unstereotype initiative and is the architect behind the #Unstereotype Alliance, co-created with UN Women, bringing together 24 companies to remove the portrayal of unhelpful stereotypes from their advertising by 2020. His commitment to UN Women also extends to other programmes such as HeforShe.
Under Paul’s leadership, Unilever has made significant strides in moving to a gender balanced and inclusive organisation. Today, 45% of Unilever’s non-executive directors are female and 47% of all Unilever managers are female, up from 38% when Paul joined as CEO in 2009. Unilever’s world leading policies on recruitment, development and retention of women have helped to achieve this. A global maternity leave policy of 16 weeks and global paternity leave standard of three weeks have significantly helped employees transitioning to parenthood, leading to a 24% reduction in women leaving the organisation after having a child. The global “Unstereotype” campaign is a key initiative to support women’s empowerment and gender equality. As an important part of the Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, the company is making steady progress in its aim to empower five million women throughout the value chain, including improving the livelihoods of 800,000 women smallholder farmers. Unilever has begun to roll-out a financial inclusion programme with a goal to help empower up to 1.5 million female small-scale retailers, and Unilever’s Last mile distribution models are creating entrepreneurship opportunities for over 150,000 women through skills development and training. Externally, Paul is a HeforShe Impact Champion, and supported the Women Rising 2030 initiative. He is part of the UN Women Private Sector Leadership Advisory Council and a member of the 30% Club, for which he gave a speech at the launch of the new gender diversity index from FTSE Russell at the London Stock Exchange.
In Aline’s current role as Executive Vice President for Global Marketing and Global Head of Diversity and Inclusion, championing gender equality in the workplace and in advertising is a top priority. She has been key to the #Unstereotype initiative; a movement to eliminate outdated stereotypes from advertising. Aline made the ‘Unstereotype’ commitment public in 2016, and has since been advocating for industry-wide change. 2017 saw the launch of the Unstereotype Alliance with UN Women– an industry wide collaboration to make Unstereotype a reality cross-sector and create impact at scale. Along with leading Unilever’s steady march towards Gender Balance, with current female representation in management at just under 46%, Aline places equal emphasis on building inclusion. On International Women’s Day, Unilever launched the “Unstereotype-Changing Mindsets” program that aims to remove the limiting power of stereotypes and unconscious bias in the workplace. They have also been working to create global standards for wellbeing, including maternity and paternity leave policies, and Aline has been focusing on business areas that have traditionally low female representation. She also plays an active leadership role in the Women’s Network Forum, chaired by Her Royal Highness, The Countess of Wessex, focusing on driving gender balance in UK corporates.
Leena led the Diversity and Inclusion agenda at Unilever from 2012 to 2016 as Global Head of D&I, and continues to be involved as a member of the Global Diversity Board. With the vision of getting to gender balance, they put together a comprehensive framework, metrics led governance, and a robust model to drive the recruitment, development and retention of women at Unilever. There are number of programmes which have aided in this aim, by supporting women going through maternity transition, providing agile working and leadership development programmes, and mentoring. They have also introduced balanced slates in recruitment which ensure that they create a level playing field while adhering to the principle of meritocracy. Leena’s personal mission is to “ignite the human spark in everyone to build a better business and a better world”. She has set a target to inspire 1 million women by showing them what is possible when they apply themselves to their dreams. She speaks at every possible opportunity to groups of young women across the world, and drives the participation of Unilever in the HeforShe UN campaign.
Rakesh successfully sponsored the launch of Project DARE (Developing, Attracting, Retaining and Engaging talented women @ RB) to implement a more systematic approach to ensure the number of women at middle management and senior levels more closely mirrored the population of women across the business. He has introduced extended parental leave and working from home policies to allow for flexible lifestyles, and a ‘stay in touch’ programme, whereby employees who go on maternity leave can stay in touch with the company. For parents to be, he promoted webinars before and after maternity leave, to help with balancing a family and a job. In addition, he has sponsored a mentoring program, to allow talented women in the organisation to have a mentor to support and sponsor them. He also promoted fair gender representation for external hires, so that there is mandated diversity in candidate lists. As a father of a girl, Rakesh is very committed to tackling unconscious bias and championing women in and outside of the workplace, and has set a company target to double the number of talented women at RB by 2020.
Today, 46% of Unilever managers are female – up from just 38% when Paul joined the company in 2009. This has been achieved in a holistic and strategic way by addressing the recruitment, development and progression of women across the organisation. Under Paul’s leadership, Unilever has worked hard to create the right conditions to drive gender balance – such as agile working policies, improved maternity and paternity programmes, increased focus on addressing unconscious bias, and mentoring programmes. Paul established and chairs the Global Diversity Board, which gives visible leadership and drives action. Over the last year the company launched the ‘Unstereotype initiative’ to help change how people – especially women – are portrayed in advertising, which is now being extended across the value chain. Unilever works to ensure that 50% of sustainable farming providers are women and is working with partners to provide training to increase income and improve livelihoods – for example digital financial inclusion for small scale retailers. Paul is a UN Women HeForShe Champion working to secure the commitment of a billion men to support gender equality around the world, and a UN Advocate for the Sustainable Development Goals – with Goal 5 aiming to achieve gender equality everywhere by 2030.