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Celebrating International Women's Day 2021.

The Impaakt Team

20 min Read Time | March 8th 2021

Top 10 Success Stories for Women's Equality and Female Empowerment in the Workplace

To celebrate International Women's Day 2021 we've compiled our top 10 company success stories. Stories that demonstrate how a company can truly impact the lives of millions of women and drive forward this essential gender equality movement with their actions.

We’ll be looking at companies that truly showcase women’s equality and female empowerment, and are a driving force for real change in the workplace.

So without further adieu, here are the top 10 revolutionary companies in recognition of International Women’s Day 2021.


Women in the workforce: Netflix leading by example.

Written by: Eu Genie

Company: Netflix


"Netflix appears as a top-notch diversity and inclusion student when looking at its neighbors in the Silicon Valley: indeed, women make 47% of Netflix total US workforce, and 47% of total leadership jobs when women only account respectively for 17% and 18% of Twitter and Uber total's workforce. Netflix said that these figures are naturally achieved thanks to their Culture Memo that reminds all employees of the company culture, a company where freedom and responsibility are key, and a "speak-up culture" that has become paramount for the company.[4]

Whilst there are no official media releases on how Netflix is achieving these figures, one might think that events such as Women in Tech at Netflix or #SHERULESINDATA[5], as well as sponsorship of Women in Tech & Allies, give Netflix a fairer and more inclusive vibe than other companies. This inclusive culture also extends to the content Netflix is producing: 20% of Netflix US original films in 2019 were directed by women - almost twice the figure of the women directors in US 100 top-grossing movies in 2019."

Read the full article about Netflix and women in the workforce here.

Events 2

Adidas's numerous campaigns for women empowerment.

Written by: Bhavya Jaiswal

Company: Adidas


"Adidas's first campaign was 'I'm Here to Create' in 2016 which was followed by 'Unleash Your Creativity' in 2017, both of which put a spotlight on female athletes across the globe through short films. 3 Then on Equal Pay Day in 2018, Adidas went one step further and partnered with Lean In for a campaign to raise awareness that women on average were paid 20% less than men in the US. 4 Likewise in 2019, Adidas partnered with Twitter to live stream six high school girls sporting events globally. 5

To address the issues of funding in women's sports programs, this year Adidas partnered with Goals4Girls and iFundWomen. Girls4Goals is a program that provides long term support and creates opportunities for teenage sportswomen. Meanwhile, iFundWomen is a crowdfunding platform for female entrepreneurs who support young sportswomen. As a result of this partnership, Adidas provided financial support and business coaching to female entrepreneurs. 6, 7, 8

Over the past four years, Adidas has focused on women empowerment through campaigns to promote women in sports as well as funding programs to break down barriers for aspiring sportswomen."

Read the full article about Adidas and their female empowerment campaigns here.

Events 3

Adobe Research empowers female computer science students through the Women-in-Technology scholarship.

Written by: Sharmaine Jo Regina Badong

Company: Adobe Systems


"Recognizing the "need to bring more diversity to the technology industry", Adobe Systems launched the Adobe Research Women-in-Technology (WIT) Scholarship in 20166. This program is also one of their responses to realign with the Sustainable Development Goals12.

The international WIT Scholarship is awarded to outstanding undergraduate and masters female students studying computer science and related technical fields. Recipients receive a $10,000 scholarship, a one-year Creative Cloud subscription, a mentorship from the Adobe Research team, and an internship opportunity at the organization6.

Since the program's inception, the organization has awarded the scholarship to 69 recipients from the US, India, Africa, East Asia, and the Middle East7. The program also expanded in 2017 by having its own base in Adobe India10. Several press releases featuring its participants and original content from the participants themselves show that some of them have pursued careers in tech research and product development8,9.

While Adobe is not the first big tech company to provide scholarships dedicated to women in STEM, it is one of the few that has a global scope. This contribution is significant in supporting women tech students and the formation of role models in regions with less access to scholarships of this nature11."

Read the full article about Adobe and their work progressing women in STEM here.

Events 4

Women now represent one quarter of Renault’s workforce, which makes of the French company a pioneer of gender equality in the car industry.

Written by: Sylvain Tornare

Company: Renault

Extract: "First, the percentage of women working at Renault is higher than these of the French, German, and British car industries 5. Women represented only 18,8% of Renault’s workforce back in 2015 2. This number has now increased to 24,3%3. For car manufactures, this statistic only reaches 16% in France, 13,7% in the UK, and 18,4% in Germany. In sales, it is barely any higher (17,3%, 16,8% and 19,1%)5. Overall, women represent 12% of the workforce in the automotive industry 4.

Secondly, Renault has recently received the gender equality pay index award at the diversity awards in the automotive and mobility fields. This price assesses criteria such as pay, parity, and increments 4&9. In a similar manner, Renault has signed the UN Charter "Free and Equal", which aims at fighting against discrimination of the LGBT+ community11. Also, seven of the 18 members of the board of directors and the current CEO are women 10&12.

Globally, such actions support and accelerate an already ongoing change in the working culture of the car industry and of manufacturing in general."

Read more about Renault and gender equality here.

Events 5

Johnson & Johnson is championing women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.

Written by: Maximilian Daugéras

Company: Johnson & Johnson


The world’s largest healthcare company has been certified gender fair for empowering women in August 2018 by Gender Fair, the independent marketplace for equality. Johnson & Johnson achieved a perfect score in the index for family-friendly policies, offering $20,000 in adoption assistance benefits, $35,000 in fertility benefits and up to 17 weeks of maternity and paternity leave in the child’s first year3.

In 2015, the company launched its “Women in STEM2D” program, aiming to champion women in the STEM field. It provides monetary awards and mentorship for female school and university students, as well as for professionals. The youth support has already reached one million girls across the globe3&4. In addition, Johnson & Johnson awards its WiSTEM2D Scholars Award to one woman per STEM discipline, helping them in their research careers with $150,000 funding and three years of mentorship6.

Read the full article about Johnson & Johnson and their work toward gender equality here.

Events 6

Unilever is recognized as a key partner for women empowerment in Vietnam.

Written by: Audrey Pichard
Company: Unilever


"Nevertheless in Vietnam, a key market for UVN, Unilever is recognized as a model and key partner for sustainable development through its blueprint Unilever Sustainable Living Plan, and its support to the Vietnam Business Council for Sustainable Development. Women’s empowerment policies/programs are at the core of UVN global-supply chain/marketing development strategy to support its business success as most consumers of UVN products are women. Unilever has launched the program “Empowering Women through business development and health education” in collaboration with Vietnam Women Union. Targeting disadvantaged women to improve their life quality via microfinancing and job creation to generate income, the program has helped ~45,000 poor households access microfinance loans (VND~300 billion), and has provided training on capability building, nutrition, health education for ~1.3 million women nationwide.

In 2018, Australian Ambassador to Vietnam launched with the support of Investing in Women and 7 founding members such as UVN, the Vietnam Business Coalition for Women Empowerment, a coalition of large employers committed to ensuring gender equality within businesses (closing the gender pay gap; progressing women into management positions; progressing female workforce participation; investing in family-friendly working conditions)

Unilever aims to expand what it did in Vietnam to other developing markets, like in Nigeria."

Read more about the work Unilever is doing for female empowerment here.

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P&G commits to gender equality with its #WeSeeEqual Summit across the IMEA region.

Written by: Jonathan Suchar Ghitman

Company: Procter & Gamble


"In 2017 Procter & Gamble launched their gender equality campaign were P&G will focus their efforts in three areas: Advertising and Media, Education and Economic Opportunity and Inclusive environment inside P&G[1]

More concretely, in February 2019, the company announced a new commitment around a number of initiatives to promote gender equality across the Indian Subcontinent, the Middle East and Africa (IMEA) region[2]

P&G and UN Women held the #WeSeeEqual Summit in Mumbai, India; the initiative brought together business, government leaders influencers and many different body entities in order to share inspiration and insights around progress for gender equality.[3] To demonstrate that the commitment is real P&G set very specific and challenging goals over the next three years:

• P&G aims to spend USD 100 million on deliberately working with Women-Owned Businesses in the IMEA region.

• P&G will educate more than 23 million adolescent girls on puberty and hygiene across the IMEA region.

• P&G and its brands will use our voice in forums like the #WeSeeEqual Summit to spark conversation and motivate change.

With almost 200 years of history, many recognized brands and many partnerships around the world P&G has the power and unique opportunity to contribute to gender equality especially in the IMEA regions where the company has an immense influence on a daily basis on women and girls. An initiative like the #WeSeeEqual is a big demonstration of commitment and a positive impact in our societies."

Read the full analysis about P&G and their work on gender equality here.

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Mastercard has significantly contributed to the growth of women entrepreneurs in India.

Written by: Mohammad Waheed

Company: Mastercard


"Women, in spite of being equally or more qualified than their male counterparts, are denied opportunities of equal status in the corporate world.

MasterCard has certainly not been following this negative trend. It has been funding the Mann Deshi Foundation in India which helps 5,500 up and coming women entrepreneurs to develop by giving them support, which includes enterprise development, financial literacy training, access to markets, and access to financial products and services.

Besides that, the participating women are also given local mentors, exposure visits and networking opportunities. On average, members of the Chamber of Commerce earned approximately $1,000–$1,400 through this new market opportunity.1
Mastercard was ranked #2 on Fortune's 'Change the World' list of 2019 in recognition for their work with Mann Deshi. 2"

Read the full article about Mastercard and their work in India here.

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Starbucks achieved gender pay equity in the United States.

Written by: Karoline Sophie Rast

Company: Starbucks


"Starbucks, with its 30’000 stores in 75 countries, is a large employer who tries to tackle this inequality by fostering equal pay1. They reached a zero pay difference between women and men’s salaries in 2018 in the US1.

Starbucks counts a total of 346’000 employees globally, with 218’000 people employed in the US9;p7. In 2008 Starbucks analyzed its employment structures through a company-wide compensation study by checking pay disparities of salaries6. Then, for 10 years5 they applied the following measures to foster gender-pay equity: understanding and negotiating fair payment rates; installing equitable payment of new employees; sharing pay ranges; analyzing bonuses and salary raises before effectuation; adopting transparency and accountability3. With these efforts, Starbucks achieved a 100% gender pay equity in 2018 in the US1, while globally, female Starbucks employees make 98.3% of men’s salary2."

Read the full impact analysis about Starbucks ' gender pay gap here.

Events 4 2021 03 08 132056

Coca Cola empowers over 3.2 million female entrepreneurs in 92 countries since 2010.

Written by: Kaja Olejniczak

Company: Coca Cola


"Coca Cola made a commitment in 2010 to "economically empower 5 million women by 2020", dubbed 'the 5by20 initiative' [3;p35]. To do this, the company partnered with governments and NGOs so as to address the many obstacles that women entrepreneurs face[3;p35]. Here, Coca-Cola funds and coordinates a variety of educational training programs and enabling activities, such as business skills training, peer-to-peer mentoring networks and financial service workshops[3;p35].

One example of a successful 5by20 initiative is the Sari-Sari Store Training and Access to Resources (STAR) program, aimed to educate female Filipino entrepreneurs on how to better manage their micro-enterprise convenience stores[4]. Such sari-sari stores are central to sustaining the livelihoods of women and their families in the Philippines, as 90% of the 1.1 million sari-sari stores are owned and operated by women, with studies showing that "up to 40% of households needs can be addressed by a well-run sari-sari store" [5].

Just six years after its implementation in 2011, Coca Cola's STAR program has impacted more than 150,000 Filipino women in over 68 provinces[6], augmenting business revenue by 17%, increasing store income by 12%, and expanding store inventory by 20%, leaving 65% of Filipino women feeling self-assured about their future financial stability[3;p35]. In 2018, the Philippines was classified as the most gender-equal country in Asia [7].
As a result of such concrete and localised programs, in 2018, Coca Cola reportedly enabled more than 3.2 million women across 92 countries[8]."

Read about other initiatives for females from Coca-Cola here.

Women Equality in the Workplace

Despite all these inspiring stories from leading brands, there's still a great deal of female inequality in the workplace.

In recent years, this inequality has been challenged and tremendous steps have been taken to bridge the gap between men and women. From businesses and employees to the government, people with influence have joined together to fight the fight for women's equality in the workplace.

What is Gender Equality?

Gender equality is simply ensuring men and women are treated equally.

While this is integral to the progression of women equality in the workplace, companies are still lacking in support. Whether due to personal views, company culture, or confusion on current laws; women are still not receiving equality in the workplace - as they so rightly deserve.

Equal treatment between men and women includes:

  • Equal pay for the same roles.

  • Equal opportunities for progression.

  • Equal consideration of needs.

Women inequality, unfortunately, still exists. But with the hardwork from the above mentioned companies championing women’s rights and International Women’s Day 2021 - we are making progress.

Examples of Gender Inequality in the Workplace

While some of these examples aren’t limited to the workplace, these are things you should be stamping out within your business as a priority.

Below are examples of gender inequality in the workplace.

  • Unequal pay: There are now laws against this that you must follow.

  • Unequal opportunities: Opportunities that are only open to men and not women.

  • Unequal recruitment: This can be anything from asking questions to female candidates about children, or marketing the role as more ‘male-orientated’.

  • Bias: Showing unequal treatment, favouring men over women.

  • Sexual harassment: Whether to men or women, sexual harassment is an act of gross misconduct and has serious reprocussions.

  • Sexist views: Holding outdated views on women and their roles.

Gender inequality can vary drastically between men and women, however, the majority of these issues are female-orientated.

How Can You Promote Women Equality in the Workplace?

We’ve spoken a lot about what companies in the spotlight are doing to promote women equality in the workplace, but we haven’t yet spoken about what YOU can do.

We believe every business should be taking the same approach to ensure men and women are treated equally and receive the same opportunities.

Here are some tactics you could implement to help foster women equality in the workplace:

  • Be transparent about pay. This includes ensuring that men and women get paid the same for the same role.

  • Offering training and progress opportunities to everyone in the business, including women.

  • Ensure that your business has an anti-harassment policy in place so it doesn’t happen.

  • Evaluate your job specifications to ensure that certain job roles are accessible to women also.

  • Ensure policies for fair pay and work/life balance, and make sure that managers are aware of these policies and adhere to them.

  • Highlight good work by women in the workplace, both internally and online.

  • If possible, provide childcare facilities, family-friendly policies and vouchers - or flexible working hours.

These are just some of the opportunities to alleviate inequality and ensure women equality in the workplace for businesses like yours.

The Benefits of Women Equality in the Workplace

While the benefits of women equality may seem obvious, there are some benefits that are overlooked. Empowering your entire workforce, including women, can and will have a tremendous effect on productivity and output.

Gender equality benefits everyone, the more equal a company is, the better it is for both female and male employees. And the happier the workforce, the lower the turnover, higher levels of job satisfaction and improved company culture.

Want to know more?

We've loved sharing with you some of the successes implemented that are delivering real impact in the gender equality movement, highlighting women's equality in the workplace. Whilst progress has been made, there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. It is essential that we recognise that oppression and inequality still exist, and recognise the power that large companies have to change this.

You can find more articles about the positive and negative impact that businesses have on Sustainable Development Goal 5 - Gender Equality here.
If you want to make an impact, get involved by joining our movement, reading, rating and writing about the impact of business. We're holding companies to account for their impact on the world. Measuring their positive and negative impact together, you can be part of the change toward a fairer world for all women and girls.

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