An increasing number of businesses, including Nestlé, have made progress in Central and Western Africa in improving gender balance. A child care facility for workers between the ages of 5-15 months and breast feeder facilities for mothers in Ghana opened MTN in its new offices in Accra. The Newmont Company also aims to change the masculine working environment by hiring and encouraging staff on-site irrespective of gender and providing breastfeeding facilities. These are just a few instances where businesses in the area take practical measures to make equality in the workplace. These are not sufficient, however, and progress must be accelerated. The World Economic Forum predicts that the current pace of change will take 99.5 years to achieve parity between men and women. Each employer should, therefore, double its effort in achieving a balance between men and women.
The problem in Africa is because young women are less in number, according to the World Bank, than younger men to become formally working, trained or skilled. In order to increase the numbers of women in formal employment, unequal access to education, early marriage rates among women and family duties must be quickly overcome. As the world’s largest drink and beverage company, Nestlé took action last year to address the gender balance and launched a three-pillar Gender Acceleration Plan: positive leadership, a philosophy of empowerment and a collection of practices. Nevertheless, admissions of women have risen by almost 80 per cent and the proportion of men and women in these education centres is now almost equal. A recent appointment by Nestlé to Joëlle Abega-Oyouomi, the first women plant manager in Côte d’Ivoire who manufactures MAGGI broths. She headed the Research and Development Center in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire before taking on that role. We also appointed Julia Atta, Nestlé CWA’s first female manager for the production, at the Tema plant in Ghana in 2018. These represent important milestones for our organization in the area and question women’s non-traditional work. Such women are also excellent examples of leadership roles for young African women.
Both men and women have parental leave to close the gap inequality. This refers to the demand for younger generations who want equal parental positions. As Forbes stressed, parental leave also has a number of advantages for businesses, the economy and society. It leads to change the idea that caring is women’s responsibility, minimizes the maternity penalty and encourages parents to spend time ensuring that their children have the best beginning in life. Equality begins at home so that workers can succeed and fulfil their career ambitions the policy of a company parental leave should be inclusive. In African society, there are still numerous preconceived ideas about the roles of men and women.
African women are held back as participants of public life, boardrooms or in the growth of their own businesses in compliance with the African Growth Bank Group. They spend too much time doing housekeeping-tasks that both genders should do. These traditional barriers are essentially unfair and can restrict women’s abilities. An intellectual shift from ground to the top is necessary –equality should exist both in starting and in power positions since leadership should reflect the change we wish to see. Managers and workers at Nestle are given training on diversity and inclusion in order to overcome prejudices and build an inclusive culture and minimize racism in their working environment. Job announcements are now sex-neutral so that a certain role is perceived to be directed at certain sex. Employment should be based exclusively on abilities, experience and ability and not gender.
In our culture, the promotion of equity and gender balance must be a top priority. This is why Nestlé’s dedication to improve the sex balance in our workers and motivate women in the value chain Nestlé supports other organizations and companies in Central and Western Africa and around the world to work toward equal opportunities for men and women, prioritizing parenting and promoting equal opportunity around the business is one of the things Nestlé is doing to promote. It is good for business, good for business and good for Africa.
Data Source: Nestlé