More than 300 senior executives learned how Procter & Gamble is leveraging its position as the world’s top advertiser to promote gender equality around the world, during the NEW Executive Leaders Forum 2017, August 2 in Santa Barbara, California.
Carolyn Tastad, group president, North America, and a trio of executives demonstrated P&G’s commitment to challenging gender bias in the many countries in which the company operates. P&G’s vision is to “create a world free of gender bias with equal representation for women and men,” Tastad said. “We believe when we make gender bias visible and bring awareness to help people see it, we have the power to change minds.”
Tastad was joined by Yuri Hermida, vice president, North America baby care and brand function, Procter & Gamble; Board Chair Karen Stuckey, senior vice president, private brands general merchandise, Wal-Mart Stores Inc.; and Board Member Monica Turner, vice president, customer business development, Procter & Gamble, for “Exposing Bias and Changing Expectations.”
The company’s diversity goals include creating an inclusive environment for 95,000 employees and having 50/50 gender parity in all regions and businesses.
Advertising for change
P&G’s #WeSeeEqual campaign, viewed millions of times in 200 countries, challenges longstanding cultural norms, laws and attitudes that hold girls and women back. “We know when women have a voice and opportunity to be fully represented, companies perform better and the world is simply a better place for women and men, Tastad said.
Another campaign, for the Always brand, was spurred by the fact that half of girls have a drop in confidence during puberty. “We know puberty is tough on girls and boys, but the drop in confidence for boys isn’t even close [to girls’] and many girls never fully recover their confidence,” Hermida said.
The resulting #LikeAGirl campaign, launched during the Super Bowl, transforms the derogatory meaning of “like a girl” to “girls do amazing things,” Hermida said.
Advertising around Ariel laundry soap tackles repressive social norms in India, where 70 percent of girls and boys believe household chores are “women’s work.” The #ShareTheLoad campaign went viral, sparking more than 2 million men to sign a pledge to #ShareTheLoad.
P&G’s advertising around its SK-II skincare and haircare brand, “Marriage Market Takeover", takes on gender bias in China, where unmarried women in their late 20s are called “leftover women.”
The company also highlighted the gender pay gap in its #StressTest“ advertising for Secret deodorant, showing a woman in her early 20s practicing to ask her boss for a pay raise.
“Not only are these brands challenging bias, they are building business,” Hermida said.
Partnerships for progress
The company is amplifying it message and activity through partnerships, like the P&G and Walmart 50 Teams 50 States campaign, part of the Always #LikeAGirl initiative that supports girls’ sports teams.
“The link between playing sports and confidence is just so darn strong,” said NEW Board Chair Karen Stuckey, senior vice president, private brands general merchandise, Wal-Mart Stores Inc. “Empowering girls is not just the smart thing, it’s the right thing to do. We believe empowering women increase shared value for the business and our entire society.”
Diversity and inclusion efforts
Tastad discussed P&G talent practices with Monica Turner, the company’s vice president, customer business development.
P&G is “working hard so that every individual, without exception, can bring their very best,” Tastad said.
“Gender equality must be integrated into the company,” Turner said. Policies and initiatives must be “it must be very specific and intentional. Without intentionality, you can be very committed, but make no progress."
The company’s Talent Councils are designed to assess and place talent for development and promotions throughout the organization. “It’s important the councils are linked to what we are trying to accomplish so that they have our talent goals and data necessary to get granular enough to know what it will take to deliver against those goals,” Turner said.
Talent planning is critical to create a diverse, inclusive workplace, she added. “We need to plan out far enough to see the career possibilities and lack of visibility that can create barriers.”