Inspiring women in technology at Unilever

clock • 2 min read
Stacey Wills, Unilever Market Program Lead and Unilever Women in Tech Lead
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Stacey Wills, Unilever Market Program Lead and Unilever Women in Tech Lead

Unilever have made great progress in terms of gender representation, achieving 50:50 gender balance split in management in 2020 compared to only 38% women in management 10 years ago.

This progress has been mirrored within our Unilever Operations function (UniOps), which is our Global Business Service Unit looking after many of the core processes that run Unilever today. We have a team of over 4,500 colleagues with approximately 50% focused on Technology.  Our overall Gender balance within UniOps is 54% (44% specifically within the Technology Teams).

We believe that Unilever's achievement in gender representation can be partially attributed to Unilever's strong agenda for building a future-fit workforce, reskilling and upskilling our people and looking at new flexible and personalised employment models.  Whilst also helping equip young people with essential skills to prepare them for job opportunities

Unilever's Women in Tech (WiT) Community has been pivotal in fostering an environment whereby we can continue to share and learn from others through impactful collaboration to inspire and empower women in technology.

Unilever's WiT Community (formed in 2018) is a passionate group of individuals spanning multiple teams throughout UniOps, with committee members from UK, US and India.  The community have collaborated with several organisations to deliver workshops, podcasts, panel discussions and other events that support women both externally and internally. Two initiatives that have been particularly impactful are (1) thinkHER Ambition Mentoring Programme (2) #IAmRemarkable.

  • The thinkHER Ambition Mentoring Programme focuses on coaching and developing female students aged 17-19 to create the next generation of female leaders, with focus on STEM. This year 50 Unilever employees volunteered to take part as Mentors, with equal students taking part as mentees. This programme has contributed to Unilever's goal to help equip 10 million young people with essential skills to prepare them for job opportunities by 2030.
  • #IAmRemarkable aims to empower women to celebrate their achievements in the workplace and beyond. #IAmRemarkable was originally launched at Google in 2016. Following the success of workshops facilitated by Google, the WIT network wanted to embed the initiative within Unilever by training employees to be #IAmRemarkable workshop facilitators. There are now 12 facilitators, allowing workshops to be hosted twice per month, extending our reach within the organisation. This initiative has promoted an inclusive culture and allyship, creating an environment where individuals feel comfortable sharing their achievements resulting in both social and business benefits.

The importance of inspiring women in technology has never been more crucial as the pandemic has dramatically changed and accentuated the role that technology plays within all organisations. Whilst Unilever is not a ‘technology' company, we have a significant number of employees working in technology roles and want to use our scale to continue inspiring women to join this sector which offers such a variety of career opportunities. We recognise that through impactful collaboration we will be able to make a bigger impact and faster. With that in mind, Unilever's WiT Community look forward to future partnerships that will help to accelerate this agenda.

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