Opportunities for women
We want to help create a fairer, more inclusive world. That means a world in which every woman and girl can create the kind of life she wishes to lead, unconstrained by harmful norms and stereotypes. We believe a world where women are economically empowered will be a fairer, happier and more prosperous place to live for everybody – and that our business will flourish in it.
An inclusive world needs business to be inclusive
We want to be an inclusive business – and we want to help create a more inclusive, prosperous and gender-equal world, in which no one is left behind, regardless of gender, age, race or ability.
Empowering and including women throughout our value chain is a vital part of this ambition – because at the moment, women are still far from achieving social, economic and political equality. In fact, at the current rate of progress, women will have to wait nearly 100 years to close the overall gender gap with men. Most challenging of all, according to the annual World Economic Forum Gender Gap Report 2020, is the economic sphere, which will take 257 years to close.
We have the opportunity to be the last generation that has to fight this inequality.
We want our business to be a leading force in closing the gender gap, and to challenge and change the harmful norms and stereotypes that are a barrier to women’s economic empowerment – and the adverse norms and stereotypes of masculinity that confine men too.
Transforming societies, and our business
Empowering women will transform individual lives, societies − and our business.
It’s essential to the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), with their overarching ambition to leave no one behind.
And while empowering women and girls is the specific focus of SDG 5, Achieving Gender Equality, it is also a thread that stitches all the SDGs together. In particular, it underpins the SDGs that aim to improve access to skills and employment and the resulting economic empowerment this brings.
By creating and supporting opportunities for women in society and the economy, we have the possibility to grow our markets, brands and business.
Empowering women, empowering everyone
In the same way that women’s empowerment connects all the SDGs, enhancing opportunities for women is a theme that runs across our entire organization.
Creating diverse and inclusive workplaces. Ensuring women and girls are safe, and their human rights are respected. Including more women financially, and supporting women farmers to farm more sustainably. Empowering women through our brands. Closing the gap in skills, including digital skills.
All these elements, and more, help drive our business. To achieve these aims, we need to understand the barriers that can hold women back, and find ways to overcome them. That means putting a gender lens on our programmes when we design and implement them.
We believe that women’s empowerment is the single greatest enabler of human development and economic growth.
When women are guaranteed equal rights, skills and access to opportunities – and when the norms and stereotypes that hold women back are challenged and overcome – the effect is transformational. It benefits whole societies as well as individuals and their families – and it benefits our business.
Unlocking women’s exponential potential across all sectors
We have a great opportunity to help create this vision of unlocking women’s potential throughout our extended empowerment programs and in society at large.
Building on this foundation, we collaborate with others to create opportunities for women in our extended programs, through our networks, . By engaging in partnership, thought leadership and advocacy, we unleash the power of collective action for sustainable, transformational change.
In our 2016 we outlined how we endevour to empower women, here is how it goes:
- build a gender-balanced organisation with a focus on management
- promote safety for women in the communities where we operate
- enhance access to training and skills
- expand opportunities in the poorest communities
- work at a systemic level to challenge outdated gender norms and stereotypes.
Promoting safety for women & girls
Women have the right to be free from violence, harassment and discrimination. Promoting safety for women and girls is a moral imperative, and it is key to women fulfilling their potential as individuals and as contributors to work, communities and economies.
Our work in this area, and our framework of policies and standards, are governed by Women Empowerment Principles.
A core priority across our work
Creating opportunities for women is not an isolated goal – in fact, it runs right through all our programs and is a core element in many of our transformational sustainability aims.
Empowering women is also a vital component in our organization and strategic activities in areas including Health & hygiene − through initiatives such as Sanitary Pads Distribution Program − and Awareness Campaigns. And it’s a central part of our drive to advance human rights, women empowerment, and champion Gender Equality within, and beyond, our community.
By 2030, we aim to empower 1 million women by advancing opportunities for women in our operations, promoting safety, developing skills and expanding opportunities in Africa and beyond.
Progress to date
- We have improved the gender balance in education,
- In partnership with others, we enabled women to access initiatives aiming to promote their livelihood, safety, develop their skills, or expand their opportunities.
The World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap 2019 report shows that, while there may be improvements in some areas, it cannot be assumed that they will reduce the gap quickly enough. Women should not need to wait 100 years for gender equality, let alone 257 years for economic equality. There needs to be a shift from promises to action, and everyone has a role to play.
If we are to achieve the world we want by 2030, we must create a gender-equal society.
That means more than focusing on the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goal 5, the specific target on gender. We need to look at all the SDGs through a gender lens.
We got to be holistic and the action must be collaborative. More effort is needed to tackle gender barriers throughout our programs. But deeply embedded harmful social norms and gender stereotypes will not disappear without collective action from governments, civil society, individuals, and business.
THOMI AFRICA wants to see women’s potential enabled and fulfilled. We’re continuing to look for the best approaches to develop programmes that can make the most meaningful impact. That means new ways of measuring and managing our social impact cost-effectively and at scale. It also means new ways of partnering with others, including government and civil society. In particular, it requires us to harness the collective influence of the wider business community so that we can help change the way the world works for women for the better.
We take action to advance diversity, promote safety for women, enhance training and skills, and expand opportunities in all our programmes