Women are disproportionately affected by poverty, climate-related risks and other barriers to sustainable development. This distressing finding by a recent World Economic Forum report also reveals a startling projection: It will take women 202 years to be on even footing with men. If we want to change this, we have to act today.
Victoria Mars, a member of our board, recently joined the U.N. Foundation’s President and CEO, Kathy Calvin, at the United Nations Foundation to cohost the panel, “Women Leaders Advancing Sustainability.” While there, Victoria helped shine a light on the many different ways women’s leadership helps to improve business, society and the environment.
“We all need to be empowered to speak up and allow our voices to be heard, because it’s only when women’s voices are respected that we will be able to drive the system change that is needed to reach gender parity.” — Victoria Mars
Here are a few highlights from her talk:
- Victoria discussed building awareness and momentum for our Sustainable in a Generation Plan, including unlocking opportunities for women and working to support the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals.
- She emphasized our goals around the “Thriving People” pillar of our sustainability plan; holding ourselves accountable to human rights and improving incomes for smallholder farmers.
- Victoria brought attention to our advancements — like mentoring women at Mars, where 42 percent of our talent pipeline is female — but with a clear understanding that the fight is far from over.
- She recognized that closing the gender gap is an economic and social necessity because reducing bias benefits everyone.
Panelists shared resolutions to advance gender equality and sustainability. As we become more knowledgeable on issues affecting women, companies have a greater responsibility to contribute toward a better future. At Mars, we are taking action now. We’re working on initiatives such as our Cocoa “Vision for Change” program, to empower women working in the cocoa industry.
“We all need to be empowered to speak up and allow our voices to be heard, because it’s only when women’s voices are respected that we will be able to drive the system change that is needed to reach gender parity,” Victoria Mars says.
For more information about how Mars is committing to a future of empowered women today, see our various cocoa initiatives.