BY ONOME AMUGE
As the world celebrated International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022, Unilever Nigeria, a leading consumer goods manufacturing firm, emphasised the need for an equitable and inclusive workplace devoid of bias and discrimination in achieving a fairer and more socially inclusive world.
The company stated this when it joined the rest of the world in its special ‘Unilever Nigeria’s International Women’s Day 2022’ celebration, with the theme, “Equality is not Equal, #EquityIs”.
The celebration featured an interactive panel session with employees and guest speakers at Unilever’s head office, Lagos, and provided an opportunity to set the tone in taking the conversation beyond equality into equity in achieving a fairer and more socially inclusive world.
Speaking on the theme of the event, Carl Cruz, managing director of Unilever West Africa, stated that although equality and equity might look and sound similar, they are two very distinct concepts.
According to Cruz, while equality is a foundational concept of diversity, equity is the means to achieve fairness.
Reflecting on the company’s commitment towards managing equity and diversity as a gender empowered organisation, the managing director explained that Unilever has made remarkable strides in making the workplace equitable for all with 45 percent gender diversity at management level.
Speaking on the topic, ‘Equity, a key to achieving gender equality”, Audrey Joe-Ezigbo, deputy managing director, Falcon Corporation, described equity as the reality that captures the fact that equality has different expressions.
“As human beings we are all equal, but we are different by nature. Therefore, equity acknowledges our peculiarities and differences in ways that allows each person to function well and be their best selves,” she added.
On her part, Soromidayo George, corporate affairs and sustainable business director, Unilever West Africa, encouraged women to devise a well thought through strategy not to be silent but to make their voices heard.
“I tell my younger female colleagues, do not keep quiet, let your voices be heard in a constructive way. This is very important for Unilever as an organisation that encourages employees to make their own commitment to join the movement of equity, diversity, and inclusion to make the world a better place for all,” she explained.
Acknowledging the presence and contributions of the panellists, guests and participants at the event, Ola Ehinmoro, human resources director, Unilever Nigeria, restated that Unilever has made a lot of progress on the issues discussed towards making the world and the workplace more equitable for all.
“As a listening organisation, we encourage everyone to continue to speak up and raise issues that will make us achieve much more on our journey of diversity, inclusion, and fairness,” she concluded.
Other guest speakers and panellists present at the event who also shared insights at the event include, Uchenna Nwakanma, Unilever’s research and development cluster design director, Africa, and Obinna Emenyonu, procurement director, Unilever West Africa.