Unlocking Opportunities for Women
Mars ‘Full Potential’ Platform to Advance Gender Equality
In the world we want tomorrow, society is inclusive. And women are reaching their Full Potential. That’s why we’re acting now to advance gender equality in our workplaces, in the marketplace and in communities where we source raw materials.
Whether in the boardroom, in a retail shop or on the farm, the evidence is clear that unlocking opportunities for women bolsters communities, drives resilience and enhances value. Numerous studies demonstrate that enabling greater participation of women in businesses, communities and economies delivers measurable benefits for business, the economy, and society, including:
- In the workplace, business teams with equal gender representation outperform male-dominated teams on sales and profits, gender-diverse teams make better business decisions, and senior-level women are more likely to embrace employee-friendly policies and to champion diversity in the workplace.
- In sourcing communities, women carry out nearly half the labor on small-scale farms while carrying out the majority of unpaid labor such as collecting firewood, preparing meals, and caring for children and the elderly. When gender equality increases, food security increases, and tackling gender inequality can also multiply the role women play in driving sustainable agricultural practices.
- In the marketplace, women create and control more than a quarter of the world’s wealth — estimated at USD $20 trillion. More than 70% of brand purchasing decisions are made by women, and in emerging markets, research found that women operate more than 70% of the small-scale businesses where consumer goods are sold. And while women make more than 70% of brand purchasing decisions, they make up just 11 percent of creative directors in the advertising industry.
Women still face a range of barriers to reaching their full potential. Amid today’s crises, including the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change-related impacts, and political instability, those vulnerabilities are deepening. The World Economic Forum projects that the time to close the gender parity gap is now 132 years, up from 100 years pre-pandemic.
We need greater focus toward the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal No. 5 - Achieving Gender Equality & Empowering All Women and Girls, and a significant step up in collective efforts across workplaces, communities and the marketplace.
The Full Potential Platform
At Mars, we’re taking action to address the barriers women face — because gender equality fuels our ability to grow and thrive as a business and enables women across our value chain to reach their Full Potential. This work advances our Purpose, reinforces The Five Principles, delivers on our Inclusion & Diversity goals and drives us toward our Sustainable in a Generation Plan ambitions.
Women have long played a powerful role in our history as a family-owned, privately held business, and their success is critical to our shared future. We believe everyone deserves the opportunity to reach their Full Potential, and this platform outlines our action on gender equity across our workplaces, sourcing communities and the marketplace.
In our workplaces, we are taking action with policies and practices to improve representation and Associate benefits while ensuring we continue to pay Associates equitably. For example, we are:
- Aspiring to reach 100% gender-balanced business leadership teams across our global business. Gender-balanced is defined as 40-60% of any one gender in Leadership Teams with five or more Associates. Currently, 43% of Mars leaders are women and we have advanced the number of gender-balanced teams from 43 to 46% from 2020 to 2022. In 2022, we saw the greatest progress among our most gender-imbalanced teams.
- Remain committed to equal pay for male and female Associates across our global businesses. We continue to review our pay practices to ensure we pay our Associates fairly and equitably, as part of our commitment to ensuring an inclusive environment that attracts and retains the strongest talent.
- Improving a range of family support benefits including enhanced parental leave in the U.S. and UK, as well as actively exploring ways to enhance parental leave support globally.
- Supporting leadership development through programs like Women Leading Purposefully – where 500 women have already participated. We’re now developing new leadership programs to reach leaders at all levels – emerging and senior talents.
- Have 1/3 of our active Associate Resource Groups (ARGs) globally now focused on women and allies. As part of a growing network of 90+ ARGs, these groups help create an environment so all women at Mars can thrive.
In communities where we source raw materials, we’re investing with a range of partners in long-term approaches to bolster women’s economic empowerment and access to opportunity by:
- Deepening our global women’s empowerment partnership with CARE including a $10 million investment during five years to empower people in cocoa sourcing communities. To date, more than 58,000 women have benefited from this collaboration, through Village Savings and Loans groups. These groups focus on increasing agency, incomes, savings, and decision-making power. This work is now expanding into new raw material sourcing communities.
- Focusing on women’s social and economic empowerment through our Cocoa for Generations strategy and our Protecting Children Action Plan. Together with The Royal Tropical Institute of the Netherlands, we published an Empathy Report with new insights on empowerment opportunities for women and girls in cocoa communities.
- We’re investing more than $6.5 million in initiatives that include empowering women in coconut, vanilla and shea sourcing communities with the Livelihoods Fund for Family Farming. These programs have collaborated with more than 4,000 women to advance regenerative agriculture practices.
- Supported 4,600 women in mint communities in India, who have now accessed more than USD $400,000 in loans and grants, as well as training on rights, financial literacy, and income opportunities.
- We’re committed to spend USD 500 million with women-led suppliers by 2025. And we’re exploring new ways to better support training and innovation for women-owned businesses across our supply chain.
In the marketplace where our goods and services are advertised and sold, we’re also taking action by:
- Increasing representation of women in marketing to 45%, a 3.8% improvement from baseline, in pursuit of parity.
- Achieved parity in the depiction of men and women in advertising that are working and in leadership roles, and other situations such as shopping and cooking. Continue to review our advertising annually to identify and reduce gender bias, partnering with the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media. We are using these insights to identify where we can improve, as well as track our performance over time.
- Taking action with our brands, bringing attention to topics such as motherhood, gender equity, and intersectional representation. Ben’s Original™ is inviting everyone around the table, featuring single mothers and their families as well as challenging norms such as who is doing the cooking. In the U.K., MALTESERS® is shining light on maternal mental health through their #TheMassiveOvershare #LoveBeatsLikes campaigns with more than 270,000 visits to the support website for information and resources to date. DOVE®/GALAXY® is championing women’s empowerment through an anthem written and performed by women in Middle East & Africa and invited a majority female team to develop and produce its campaign in China
Partners and Collaborations
We’re working closely with a range of expert external partners to advise and guide our work to unlock women’s Full Potential and joining forces with others in coalition. We are:
- Committed to the CEO Action Pledge for Diversity and Inclusion to prioritize and drive accountability on inclusive workplaces, including gender. This work is focused on creating space for open conversations, expanding unconscious bias education, sharing both good practice and failures, and engaging Boards of Directors to accelerate action.
- A signatory of the EMPOWER Pledge to support women’s advancement to leadership positions in the private sector across G-20 countries — through setting strong internal targets, applying a gender lens to leadership opportunities and fostering an inclusive culture. Raising awareness and progressing our efforts as CEO Signatory of UN Women’s Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). The WEPs offer clear guidance and collaborative forums to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace and community.
- Participating on the CARE Corporate Council, where we engage in dialogue with peers on how the private sector can accelerate progress toward gender equality. We are founding members of the Climate Resolute Coalition, where we are focusing on gender equity as an unlocker for climate solutions. And we joined the global WeConnect network and sit on the Leadership Advisory Council in the EU to support our procurement teams around the world as we progress our gender equity ambitions.
- A founding member of the UN Women Unstereotype Alliance and currently co-chair the Alliance. The industry-led initiative, convened by UN Women, brings together industry leaders to end harmful stereotypes in advertising.
- A Catalyst Supporter, which allows Mars to contribute to and access cutting edge research, expertise, educational events, and communities that help build workplaces that work for women..