In June, Vodafone published the Sustainable Business Report for 2017. The focus? Women's empowerment.
Here are the main 3 priorities:
- Increasing diversity - our ambition is for Vodafone to become the world’s best employer for women by 2025
- Gender balance - 26% of our senior leadership team and 30% of our Vodafone Group Board are women
- Connecting women - we aim to connect an additional 50 million women living in emerging markets
More details from the report: "We employ more than 108,000 people and are one of the largest foreign investors in many of the countries in which we operate. We also provide employment opportunities for hundreds of thousands of people across our global supplier base of more than 17,000 companies. We have a strong commitment to diversity and women’s empowerment within our own business and believe that achieving greater gender parity will strengthen our company significantly over time. We have therefore identified Women’s empowerment as one of our three core global transformation goals (the other two being Energy Innovation and Youth Skills and Jobs).
Communications technology can play a critical role in women’s empowerment. Even a basic mobile provides a woman with the freedom to communicate, ask for help, learn, set up and run a business and – as we explain later in this article – achieve financial security. Mobile technologies also enhance a wide range of public services and economic activities of direct relevance to women and girls in emerging markets: from vaccinations and maternal healthcare to increased crop yields for smallholder farmers and mobile banking financial services for self-employed homeworkers.
Our commitment to women’s empowerment begins at the top of the company. Vodafone’s diversity and gender equality activities are overseen by the Vodafone Group Board and are led directly by our Group Chief Executive, who is one of 10 global chief executives acting as champions for the UN Women’s global solidarity movement for gender equality, HeForShe.
Our aspiration is to be the world’s best employer for women
We seek to be a company whose global workforce reflects the customers we serve and the broader societies within which we operate. We believe our strong commitment to diversity is a source of business strength, enabling us to understand better the needs of the men and women, families and businesses who rely on our networks and services.
The need for gender equality in the workplace has been recognised for decades – with an increasing number of statutory obligations in developed countries. However, women remain under-represented in many workplaces (and strikingly so at the most senior levels).
Our long-term ambition is to become an employer whose track record in attracting and retaining female talent is so strong that we are widely considered to be the world’s best employer for women by 2025. By demonstrating leadership as a ‘beacon employer’ in each of the countries in which we operate, we believe other companies will seek to emulate our approach, thereby further expanding the range of opportunities for women across the broader working world. Shortly after the period under review, Vodafone was recognised as one of The Times Top 50 Employers for Women – a list compiled together with the UK not-for-profit organisation Business in the Community.
Programmes such as our ground-breaking global maternity policy and our ReConnect initiative to bring women back into the workforce after a career break are designed to address the challenge of the ‘leaky pipeline’ (explained earlier) and maximise our ability to recruit, retain and develop women at every level of our workforce.
Our medium-term goal is to increase the proportion of senior women managers (including senior leadership team) globally to 30% by 2020, up from 25% as at March 2017, and with a view to increasing that proportion over time."
Want to join our journey? FInd out more about Vodafone and the opportunities available to you right here.