HeForShe
U.N. Women

Corporate IMPACT Champion

Paul Polman

I am personally passionate about the HeForShe initiative, which is in line with Unilever's ambition to empower 5 million women by 2020. I will use my voice to encourage sons, husbands, brothers and fathers to pledge their support and take action.

IMPACT Commitments


Expand opportunities and provide access to skills and training for women across the Unilever value chain.


Unilever believes that creating opportunities and providing access to skills and training is critical to expanding female participation in the economy. Unilever provides training to women in their extended supply chain and distribution channels, including agricultural, business and literacy training. Besides working with smallholder farmers (around 30% of Unilever smallholder farmers are women), Unilever also equips female small-scale retailers with business skills and access to tools and technology to develop successful businesses. In order to drive sustainable growth and transform lives, families, communities and economies, Unilever will continue to build upon existing programmes to provide a holistic approach to skills & training. By the end of 2014, around 168,000 female smallholder farmers had completed qualified skills training delivered or made possible by Unilever and another 70,000 micro-entrepreneurs were trained in India.


Improve the safety of women & girls in communities where Unilever operates.


1 in 3 women will experience violence in their lifetime. Unilever aims to improve safety for women and girls in the communities where they operate including their extended supply chain. Unilever’s approach focuses on the prevention of incidents through increased education and awareness, as well as improving the grievance and reporting procedures. One example is the programme launched in 2013, on the Kericho tea plantation in Kenya, which covers 12,000 permanent workers, and up to 5,000 seasonal workers. Since the programme launch, there have been substantial improvements in the way sexual harassment issues are addressed, as well as opportunities for girls to engage in social activities and mentoring. This programme has a big impact, reaching those who live in company villages on the estates. Unilever will scale this successful program in the next 5 years, by identifying the highest priority regions & countries.


Build a gender-balanced organisation with a focus on management.


Unilever employs more than 172,000 people around the world. As of 2014, 43% of managers at Unilever were female. Unilever believes gender-balanced teams make better business decisions and recognises that management sets the tone for the rest of their business. Some examples of the initiatives to build a gender balanced organisation are: sustained leadership accountability and clear targets continuously reviewed and monitored; inclusion leadership training for employees; programs to recruit, retain and develop women talent e.g. Balanced shortlists, Maternity & Paternity support, women’s development and mentoring programs and employee engagement communications to build organisational engagement around inclusion and diversity.

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