Nestlé Kenya has today joined thousands other companies from across the globe in signing the UN Women Empowerment Principles as the company commemorated the 2018 International Women’s Day (March 8) to raise awareness on the importance of gender equality at work.
In a joint ceremony held today in partnership with UN Women Kenya, Nestlé Equatorial Africa Region Head, Cornel Krummenacher made public the company’s commitment to women empowerment by signing the WEPs CEO statement, joining more than 40 companies that have signed the same in Kenya.
Speaking during the ceremony, East Africa Cluster Managing Director, Ms. Miring’u said, “We believe Women Make Africa Stronger. That is why we nourish and empower the greatness in every woman. We believe that investing in the woman is not just the right thing to do to ensure the future of the continent, but it also makes business sense for us to do so. She is the one who works in the fields to ensure our raw materials are delivered to us adhering to the highest standards. She works in our offices and in our operations. She is an integral part of our distribution networks, making a living for her family while selling our nutritious range of products. And finally, she is the mother, the gatekeeper of her family, making dietary choices every day to provide the best nourishment and the best future for them.”
Apart from women making up 40 percent of its work force in Nairobi, Nestlé has embraced numerous other efforts in support of women empowerment at work and in various the communities it works. These efforts include ensuring the participation of women in coffee farming and in leadership of Farmers’ Cooperative Societies through the Nescafé Plan programme. “We have trained more than 6,000 women farmers on how to become entrepreneurs in coffee farming and this year we are training 6,000 more,” said Ms. Mirung’u.
Nestlé also offers one of the most generous maternity and paternity leaves for both male and female primary care givers. “For female employees, we give them a minimum of 14 weeks paid maternity leave and the right to extend their maternity leave up to six months. In addition, we have fully equipped and modern lactation rooms to support breastfeeding at work,” Ms. Miring’u added.
Launched on International Women’s Day in March 2010, the Women's Empowerment Principles are a set of Principles for business offering guidance on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. Subtitled Equality Means Business, the Principles emphasize the business case for corporate action to promote gender equality and women's empowerment and are informed by real-life business practices and input gathered from across the globe.
The guidelines proposed by WEP is based on seven principles:
- Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality
- Treat all women and men fairly at work - respect and support human rights and nondiscrimination
- Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers
- Promote education, training and professional development for women
- Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women
- Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy
- Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality
“By signing these principles, Nestlé Equatorial Africa and Nestlé Kenya strengthen their strong commitment to the advancement of women and gender balance as they join 40 other CEOs who have signed the WEPs statement,” said Zebib Kavuma, UN Women Country Director.
Ms. Kavuma called on other Kenyan companies to walk the talk on gender equality observing that studies still shows a glaring 24 percent gap in the pay between men and women for equal work. “The seven Women Empowerment Principles requires ownership and accountability on the side of the signatories as well as general goodwill and commitment towards the propelling of gender equality in the workplace,” she said.