Mind the gap: tool provides action plans advancing gender equity

Press Release Date

12 December 2023

Unilever and the International Center for Research on Women have created a Gender Equity Assessment Tool. It’s designed to measure the impact of our sustainability initiatives in empowering women and provide tailored action plans to accelerate progress.

  • Unilever and the International Center for Research on Women have developed a new tool that measures how well our sustainability initiatives promote gender equity for women and girls
  • It assesses four key gender equity drivers: Economic Empowerment, Health & Wellbeing, Safety, and Voice & Leadership
  • Each initiative received a scorecard and a tailored action plan to further advance its impact and the empowerment of women and girls

Of the many gains to be had from advancing gender equity, none are clearer than the financial benefits for the world’s GDP and global business’s bottom line.

Estimates from the World Bank Group suggest that if women had the same lifetime earnings as men, global wealth would increase on average by $23,620 (€22,392) per person.

In terms of profitability McKinsey research shows that companies with diverse executive boards outperform industry peers by 21%.

Delivering equity in our business

At Unilever, building gender equity begins in our own workplace. We use a metric called the Gender Appointment Ratio (GAR) to offer senior leaders a track record of their appointments over a five-year period.

Our hiring managers also use ‘balanced slates’ to ensure there’s a level playing field of talented people to promote. In 2022, women represented 54% of our management employees.

Measuring success in our empowerment programmes

We also aim to ensure the same rigour is applied to our sustainability initiatives with partners and NGOs.

Working with the International Center for Research on Women (ICRW), we developed a Gender Equity Framework to ensure gender equity can be built into each programme’s delivery and design.

And we’ve now created a Gender Equity Assessment Tool (GEAT) (PDF 3.13 MB) with ICRW, providing each programme with a scorecard measuring how much they’ve considered women alongside a tailored action plan to accelerate change.

“Brand initiatives such as Dove’s Self-Esteem Programme have a clear impact for women and girls,” says Anouk Heilen, Unilever’s Global Head of Sustainability, Social Equity and Inclusion.

“But as we drive towards gender equity, we want to support teams in every part of the business to improve the outcomes and gender impact of their sustainability initiatives.

“GEAT has been designed so it can be used for initiatives across our value chain, whether that’s for our workforce, supply chain or brands,” she adds.