Nestlé Middle East nearly doubles women in management

Gender balance at Nestlé Middle East shuns quotas in favor of a system that hones talents and creates favorable conditions to ensure employees have equal opportunities to evolve their careers.
Updated 06 March 2019

Nestlé Middle East nearly doubles women in management

The number of women in management at Nestlé Middle East has risen to 30 percent from 16 percent back in 2011. The company said it is committed to enhance gender balance at all its offices around the region, through annual increases in the percentage of women managers and senior leaders. 

“This year, we are focusing further on some pillars that we believe will accelerate our journey, starting with talent acquisition where we are actively working to find female talents for roles that aren’t usually occupied by women such as at our factories, or in sales,” said Yves Manghardt, Nestlé Middle East chairman and CEO, in comments celebrating International Women’s Day, which falls on March 8. 

“We are also strengthening our succession and career plans to ensure we have prepared the female talents for future senior roles,” he added. “I am also proud to announce that we are launching the Next Generation Women Leadership Program that incorporates mentorship and coaching to equip female talents below 30 with the right mindset and support to grow in their careers.”

Long-standing policies at Nestlé Middle East already include flexible working arrangements and guaranteed access to breastfeeding rooms during working hours in all offices and sites, including factories.

Policies also facilitate opportunities for employees who plan to deliver abroad to work from any Nestlé office within the region or remote access for one month for both the father and the mother prior to maternity/paternity leave.

They also promote clear alignment with managers to ensure transparency and reintegration into job tasks once a person returns to work from maternity leave, with several women already receiving promotions prior to going on maternity leave. 

“Gender balance at Nestlé Middle East, one of the key pillars in the company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives, shuns quotas in favor of a system that hones talents and creates favorable conditions to ensure employees of all ages have equal opportunities to evolve their careers within the company,” a statement said.

“Let’s remind ourselves that diversity and inclusion go beyond gender, covering personality, age, skill set, world views, special needs to name a few, and also covers circumstantial situations and challenges in life. We always strive to be intentionally inclusive so we are not unintentionally exclusive,” said Manghardt. 

Nestlé Middle East’s heritage goes back over 80 years to 1934 when the first import operation was set up in Lebanon. Today, Nestlé Middle East owns and operates 18 factories and provides direct employment to more than 13,000 employees.

ICD & We-Fi empower women entrepreneurs

Updated 18 September 2019

ICD & We-Fi empower women entrepreneurs

With the aim of discussing how the Islamic Corporation for the Development of the Private Sector (ICD) and the Women Entrepreneurs Finance Initiative (We-Fi) can expand their relationship and integrate the gender themes into ICD’s operations and businesses, a meeting was held between Ayman Amin Sejiny, CEO of ICD; Wendy Teleki, head of We-Fi secretariat; and Samir Suleymanov, director strategic initiatives, World Bank, at ICD’s premises in Jeddah recently. The parties discussed the development and promotion of women’s entrepreneurship through innovative sustainable solutions to increase women’s access to economic opportunities in developing countries. 

Teleki highlighted the main objectives of We-Fi, which is to support women entrepreneurs around the world through programs that provide financing, capacity building and also promote enabling environments that allow women to become entrepreneurs and grow their businesses. We-Fi uses an ecosystem approach to develop programs at the country level that will break down barriers and create more opportunities for women.

During the meeting, Ayman said: “ICD and We-Fi are working together to enhance their initiatives and mandates in supporting the female society in all ICD’s member countries. We want to ensure that our lines of finance and our relationship with the 102 directly connected financial institutions we are dealing with will further enhance the funding, training to women entrepreneurs and to provide the required necessary support to women in all our member countries.”

Teleki said that We-Fi has six implementing partners (IP) and the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) is one of them. “IsDB, along with ICD is supporting women entrepreneurs in fragile countries. In Yemen, they have a very interesting ongoing program named BRAVE Women. They target to train up to 500 women to learn to develop business plans in fragile and high-risk contexts and up to 400 of them will get access to funding on a matching grant basis. This program aims also to develop the relationship between those women entrepreneurs with the local banks and also lead companies to make sure those women have access to finance and markets to grow their businesses. Moreover, the IsDB and ICD will be implementing soon this BRAVE Women program in two other countries to improve the women’s entrepreneurship potential in key economic sectors and we look forward to seeing those programs happening in future,” she said.

We-Fi is a global platform that seeks to support over a 100,000 women around the world in the next five years and mobilize at least $2 billion from the public and private sector for further activities.