‘Unstereotyped Mindset’ Key to Unlocking Gender Equality in the Workplace: New Unilever Research

  • 60% OF WOMEN AND 49% OF MEN BELIEVE THAT STEREOTYPES PERSONALLY
    IMPACT THEIR CAREER, LIFE OR BOTH
  • THREE IN FOUR EXPECT LEADERS TO TAKE ACTION ON GENDER EQUALITY
  • UNILEVER CEO CALLS ON WORLD LEADERS AND BUSINESSES TO UNSTEREOTYPE
    THE WORKPLACE

DAVOS, Switzerland–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Unveiling research on the importance of ‘The Unstereotyped Mindset’,
Unilever urges the world’s most senior leaders to recognise that
stereotypes, social norms and unconscious bias are contributing to the
ever-widening gender gap.

A new international study, commissioned by Unilever, confirms that
underlying gender bias is holding women back at work. The research,
which interviewed more than 9,000 men and women across eight markets,
revealed that old stereotypes and social norms are prohibiting positive
change and that men, women, and senior leaders have a significant role
to play.

Keith Weed, Unilever’s Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, said:
“Stereotypes and social norms have a huge impact on gender equality
issues globally. Whether consciously or unconsciously we are all subject
to the biases in our mindsets. These effects are felt by 60% of women
and 49% of men who reported that stereotypes personally impact their
career, their personal life, or both.”

Men are increasingly engaged in and are intellectualising the challenge
of gender equality but stereotypes still pose a major challenge. An
overwhelming 77% of men but also the majority (55%) of women believe
that a man is the best choice to lead a high stakes project. More so,
men and women overwhelmingly believe that men don’t want women in the
C-suite.

The research pinpoints how traditional beliefs and norms are holding
women back. Felt by men and women alike, there is a struggle to speak up
about workplace discrimination and inappropriate behaviour. A strong
majority (67%) of women feel that they are ‘pressured’ to simply ‘get
over’ inappropriate behaviour. Just over half (55%) of men and even more
(64%) women believe that men do not challenge each other when they
witness such behaviour. Unequal division of housework and childcare also
stifles progress. Almost half of women see this as a huge barrier to
women attaining equality in the workplace but men less so.

Revealing the research in an intimate panel discussion at the 2017 World
Economic Forum Annual Meeting, Unilever’s Chief Executive Officer, Paul
Polman, shared his vision to tackle these issues and called on other
leaders to do the same. He said: “Empowering women and girls offers the
single biggest opportunity for human development and economic growth. It
goes without saying, it’s crucial for business. The World Economic
Forum’s latest Gender Gap Report notes that we may not achieve economic
equality among men and women for another 170 years. That’s just not good
enough. We need to lead the change in tackling unhelpful stereotypes
that hold women – and men – back.”

The research also shows the significant role advertising plays in
holding back progress. Nearly three out of four respondents (70%)
believe the world would be a better place if today’s children were not
exposed to gender stereotypes in media and marketing.

Unilever launched #Unstereotype in 2016 – announcing a global ambition
for its 400+ brands to advance advertising away from stereotypical
portrayals of gender and to use its platforms to positively and
progressively represent both genders.

Keith Weed believes there is much more work to be done: “We’ve seen
first-hand the powerful role that advertising can play in shaping social
norms and stereotypes and launched #Unstereotype to address this. This
new research further underlines the importance of addressing stereotypes
in the workplace and beyond.”

Unilever’s report concludes in noting that three out of four respondents
(75%) placed responsibility for taking action on senior leaders. Polman
said: “We are on a journey to achieve ‘Unstereotyped’ mindsets inside
and outside our company. But we can’t do it alone. We are calling for a
conscious effort from individuals, government and businesses – big and
small – to step up, root out and challenge the stereotypes that feed
inequality and halt progress.”

-Ends-

NOTES TO EDITORS

About Unilever:

Unilever is one of the world’s leading suppliers of Food, Home Care,
Personal Care and Refreshment products with sales in over 190 countries
and reaching 2 billion consumers a day. It has 169,000 employees and
generated sales of €53.3 billion in 2015. Over half (58%) of the
company’s footprint is in developing and emerging markets. Unilever has
more than 400 brands found in homes around the world, including Persil,
Dove, Knorr, Domestos, Hellmann’s, Lipton, Wall’s, PG Tips, Ben &
Jerry’s, Marmite, Magnum and Lynx.

We continue to make sustained progress on gender equality in our
management across work levels including in our leadership:

  • Six out of 12 NEDs are female – 50%
  • Total Management: 45% women
  • We have enabled around 800,000 women to access initiatives that aimed
    to develop their skills, made up of 70,000 micro-entrepreneurs in
    India and around 730,000 on tea smallholdings in Kenya and India

Research Methodology:

Online interviews were completed among adults 18 years of age and older
in the general population (4,029), white-collar employees (3,905) and
supply chain employees (1,158) across 8 countries (Argentina, Brazil,
India, Indonesia, Kenya, Turkey, U.K. and U.S.) December 2016. Age and
gender quotas were established for each country to ensure approximately
50% male/50% female and approximately 50% under/over 35 years of age.
All interviews were completed in the participant’s language of
choice. This research was conducted by TFQ (The Female
Quotient), committed to advancing gender equality globally in the
workplace through collaboration, cultural analysis and strategic
consulting, and Tillr, a thought leadership, research and brand
consultancy dedicated to advancing social responsibility around the
world.

For more information about Unilever and its brands, please visit www.unilever.com.
For more information on #Unstereotype. please visit this page on unilever.com

Contacts

Unilever
Louise Phillips
Louise.phillips@unilever.com
+44(0)7825049151
or
Edelman
Eugenia
Proestos
eugenia.proestos@edelman.com
+44
(0)7837 642 165
or
Elle Chambre
eleanor.chambre@edelman.com
+44
(0)7967 664 113