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Unilever, Renault, and Home Care Cene Hospitallar win the WEPs Awards
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Unilever Brasil and Renault do Brasil shared the gold in the ‘large’ category at the WEPs Brazil 2016 Awards – Business Empowering Women. In the mid-sized category, the winner was Home Care Cene Hospitallar. It was the second time the company was presented with this award. There was no top award for the micro and small business category.
Fabrice Cambolive (Renault), Sueli Kaiser (Cene Hospitallar) and Fernando Rodrigueiro (Unilever).
The winners’ names were announced at a ceremony held this Tuesday (29th) at Hotel Bourbon in Foz do Iguaçu. The ceremony was attended by Brazilian and foreign gender equality authorities, CEOs, and special guests. A total of 48 organizations were presented with some kind of recognition (a trophy or honorable mention) for fully complying with at least one of the seven principles set by UN Women.
The WEPs Brazil 2016 Awards are an initiative by Itaipu Binacional, the Brazilian Global Compact network, UN Women, and Portal Tempo de Mulher, in collaboration with MEX Paraná, the Global Reporting Initiative, and the Itaipu Technology Park (Parque Tecnológico Itaipu - PTI).
The awards are institutionally supported by: FIEP, Fundação Coge, national Assespro and Assespro Paraná, national ABRH and ABRH Paraná, SEBRAE, Amcham Brasil, Paraná State Administration Council, Federal Administration Council, Fundação Dom Cabral, ISAE, and the Brazilian National Quality Foundation.
Home Care Cene Hospitallar CEO Sueli Kaiser accepted the trophy in the mid-sized company category and enthusiastically celebrated the win. “It takes an entire team and it is to them I dedicate this award,” she said.
Unilever Brasil’s Vice President for Human Resources José Eduardo Reis da Silva thanked everyone for their joint efforts and said it is impossible to think about a sustainable world without thinking about the issue of gender equality.
Renault do Brasil’s CEO Fabrice Cambolive gracefully gave the floor to Ana Paula Camargo, the Chief Officer of Human Resources Brazil, who had been involved from the start with the process to implement gender equality policies at the company. Ana highlighted the organization’s efforts to make equality truly a reality, with women holding half of top management positions at the company.
Jorge Samek, Itaipu’s Brazilian General Director, said equality is a quest for everyone who believes in building a more egalitarian, democratic society that embraces the diversity of experiences and choices.
“We as executives at the helm of companies must keep this process going because there is still much left to be done. We know women never lose their drive. They are here all the time engaging in political and student movements, but still there are few of them in politics, as heads of companies,” he said.
Samek went on to say that “we have done much at Itaipu and will keep on doing our best to ensure parity and equally include all genders by carrying out affirmative action, redress, and education programs.” He also said that “companies entering the award are getting more and more in synch with the UN Millennium Development Goals.”
According to Margaret Groff, Itaipu’s CFO, “gender equality is a basic human right, and making sure it is truly enjoyed has massive socioeconomic implications. Women empowerment is a catalyst for the economy to thrive, as it fosters productivity and growth.” However, she said, gender inequalities remain deeply rooted in society. “Women across the world suffer violence and discrimination, and are sub-represented in decision-making processes.”
Margaret Groff pointed out that the nominees are not competing against one another, but instead they are focused, committed, and gearing up for an increasingly more sustainable world where the gender issue stands to play an ever more relevant role. “A company that is not ready for this change will certainly founder, or will be forced to expedite the process lest history leaves it behind.”
Margaret thanked everyone involved in the organization of the WEPs Awards and the companies for joining these efforts. “Just like in 2014, the first year the awards were presented, we now managed to reach all Brazilian states and 8% of the country’s GDP. As an example of steps taken forward, we see specific rules regarding gender equality implemented in the organizations entering the awards,” she said.
The CFO highlighted that the WEPs Awards “provide an important databank for our work. In 2014 we had 55 companies signing up to the WEPs; today we have 90. The challenge is to get that number even higher. This is a mission for the Secretariat for Women’s Policies, UN Women, and the other companies engaged in the topic.”
André Gustavo de Oliveira, Chairman of the Brazilian Global Compact Network, said the institution will not be taking place in any event where women are not present on the stage. Women deserve visibility, he said.
The Secretary for Labor Policies and Economic Autonomy of the Secretariat for Women’s Policies Tatau Godinho said that although many people claim this is the century of women, there is a long way to go to make sure it is the century of equality as well. “In several studies, women have said that joining the world of work has had a major impact on their lives. We know employment is not taking place equally, though.” Tatau thanked the women for their dedication and dogged pursuit of equality. She also thanked the men who have grasped this notion in the past few years.
UN Women Director and representative for Brazil Nadine Gasmann said companies are important means of engagement towards the UN Goals. She also said the WEPs Brazil Awards play an important role in these efforts.
About the Awards
The WEPs Brazil Awards recognize the efforts by companies that carry out practices, programs, and actions to foster the culture of gender equality and women empowerment.
The awards are based on the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), an initiative launched by UN Women and the UN Global Compact in 2010 to make more and more companies aware how important it is to value women’s work, empower them, and by so doing move forward towards a more egalitarian world.
Some of the WEPs Brazil framework was put together in collaboration with the Paraná Executive Women (Mulheres Executivas do Paraná – MEX), which has just celebrated its tenth anniversary. By bringing the topic of gender equality into companies, this organization has placed Paraná at the forefront of discussions and implementation of women empowerment initiatives.
This year, out of the total number of small, mid-sized, and large companies that registered on the awards’ website, 137 filled out the self-assessment. The finalists were chosen by a committee of inspectors who checked the company-provided information during visits to the institutions. The classification process was examined by independent auditors Moore Stefens.