By Tunde Oso

Unilever Nigeria has joined the female folks to celebrate International Women’s Day (IWD) 2022, by harping on the need to achieve an equitable and inclusive world devoid of bias and discrimination among all genders.

The celebration featured an interactive panel session with employees and guest speakers at Unilever’s Head Office and was themed Equality is not Equal, #EquityIs, which 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, the Managing Director Unilever West Africa, Mr. Carl Cruz stated that although Equality and Equity might look and sound similar, they are two very distinct concepts. While Equality is a foundational concept on diversity, Equity is the means to achieve fairness.

In his words, Carl Cruz said, “#Equality is not Equal, #EquityIs. As we join the rest of the world to celebrate women, we especially appreciate our female colleagues across West Africa on this special day. We take this opportunity to reflect on the progress we have made towards driving Equity as a gender empowered organisation and we commit to doing more to improve on our diversity and inclusion agenda. I am pleased with our progress as an organisation in making our workplace Equitable for all with 45% gender diversity at management level.”

The keynote speaker and distinguished guest of the panel session, Deputy Managing Director, Falcon Corporation, Mrs. Audrey Joe-Ezigbo, who spoke on the topic: ‘Equity, a key to achieving gender equality,’ said, “Equity is 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.”

On her part, Corporate Affairs and Sustainable Business Director, Unilever West Africa, Mrs. Soromidayo George, 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.”

While thanking the panelists, guests and participants at the event, the HR Director, Ola Ehinmoro acknowledged the contributions of the panel and restated that at Unilever, “We have made a lot of progress on the issues called out to make 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.”

Other distinguished guest speakers and panelists present at the event include, Unilever’s Research and Development Cluster Design Director Africa, Oral, Skin Care & Regulatory, Mr. Uchenna Nwakanma and Procurement Director Unilever West Africa, Mr. Obinna Emenyonu. They all shared insights and valuable perspectives on how to achieve equity to make the world a better place for all.

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