A World Free from Gender Biases


By Tankut Turnaoglu, Procter & Gamble Chairman on Board for Turkey and Caucacus, in an interview with Meral Guzel, Empower Women  on 6 November 2017

What is P&G’s approach to Gender Equality?

P&G’s purpose is to improve the lives of consumers. And we improve the lives of 2.5 billion women and girls in virtually every part of the world every day through our brands, products and education programs.

At P&G, we aspire to build a better world for all of us– a world free from gender bias and a world with equal representation and an equal voice for men and women. Creating a better world through Gender Equality is a citizenship priority for us. As a Company that understands women, we are leveraging our insights to uncover gender bias and taking actions to spark conversations and motivate change.  As a father of two daughters and a son, I want my children to grow in a world of equal opportunities and treatment. We, as big corporations being a force for good and force for growth, all have a role to play in this.

Can you explain your efforts on Gender Equality as P&G? What are your key focus areas?

Our gender equality efforts are integrated into our business, and we’re focused on three areas where we can have the greatest impact:

Brand campaigns: Great brand campaigns today have the power to move people, inspire action and change society. We leverage our voice in advertising to tackle gender-bias issues as well as challenge prejudices and stereotypes. Corporate and brand programs: We are also helping to remove gender-biased barriers to education for girls and economic opportunities for women through our corporate and brand programs. Education opens doors to better health and economic opportunities. A good education gives girls influence and control over their lives. And, perhaps most importantly, it opens awareness of and access to a world of bigger and better possibilities.

P&G people & partners: Our goal is to achieve equal gender representation in all parts of our company and ensure an inclusive environment where everyone – men and women – can contribute to their full potential. We have a responsibility to ensure our organizations are diverse and inclusive, designed to allow men and women to thrive equally

Can you please mention some of your top global programs in Gender Equality?

Brand campaigns that aim to remove gender bias include Always #Like A Girl, Ariel #ShareTheLoad, Fairy’s How Fair is Home, Secret #StressTest, SK-II #ChangeDestiny  and Pantene #StrongIsBeautiful

On girls’ education, I would like to mention two of our programs. The first one is  Always Keeping Girls in School. The brand has been championing girls’ confidence globally for more than 30 years and provides puberty and confidence education to 17 million girls each year in more than 70 countries.  Over the past 10 years, Always has donated over 70 million pads and helped more than 6 million girls at risk.   The second program is our P&G Children’s Safe Drinking Water initiative which has provided more than 12 billion liters of clean drinking water in 85 countries reducing the burden of the global water crisis that disproportionately affects women and girls

Internally, we support the development of diverse talent, including women at all levels, across all regions, through wide-ranging learnings and career development programs. In partnership with Catalyst, we offer MARC (Men Advocating Real Change) training that helps men understand and fulfill the role they can play to help achieve gender balance among their teams. We are also the largest corporate partner for Lean In Circles with about 4000 participants worldwide.

Here I would like to give a little bit more info on MARC. Since majority of senior leaders in today’s business world are men, men are in the best position to influence cultural and organizational change. Catalyst research shows that the more men know about gender inequity, the likelier they are to lead efforts to close the gender gap. To aid their work, Catalyst launched MARC (Men Advocating Real Change) in partnership with WMFDP (White Men as Full Diversity Partners) a community for men to inspire, learn from, and collaborate with one another as they address inequalities in the workplace that affect everyone. MARC workshops enable men to develop critical inclusive leadership strategies. It helps men to understand and fulfill the role they can play to help achieve gender balance among their teams. In P&G, it is both up to men and women to drive gender equality throughout our organization, which is why over the last year P&G Europe partnered with Catalyst to run MARC workshops with our senior leaders both men & women. The program started in 2016 and runs in the US and Europe. The workshops help men to better understand the impact of stereotypes, unconscious bias and male dominant culture on women’s career progression. So far, we reached more than 250 senior executives. Many of them have called the experience “transformational” and “life changing”. We will continue our partnership and expand the reach of the program. Our plan is to train more than 700 leaders & managers from various levels until the end of 2018.

Can you please share your local programs in Turkey regarding Gender Equality and Education?

I would like to share two examples of our Orkid (Always) brand. Since its first day of launch, Orkid aimed at improving the lives of women and took bold actions to break the taboos with remarkable campaigns and programs.

School Education Program: As P&G we are proud to have one of the longest social responsibility campaigns in Turkey with Ministry of Education – Orkid School Education Program. We launched School Education Program back in 1993, 24 years ago, to educate young female students on puberty period and the changes they will go through in adolescence. Studies showed that adolescence period is very critical in terms of developing self-confidence. We wanted to help young girls to overcome the problems they face during this physical, psychological and social change in a happy and heathy way. We reached young girls via face-to-face classroom trainings, www.kizlararasinda.com website and free call center. Program experts consisting of psychologists and nurses responded to the questions of 36.000 students via call -center and 5000 students via website. We also included moms in the classroom sessions given the important role they play. Up until today we touched around 16 million girls and 2 million moms in 81 cities of Turkey.

Like A Girl (Kız Gibi): Second example is Orkid brand advertising campaign; Like a Girl. Orkid is a feminine protection brand grounded in confidence. Three years ago, we discovered an outrageous fact: 50% of girls have a huge drop in confidence at puberty, often triggered by the onset of their first period. In addition, demeaning phrases such as “like a girl” are so accepted that we don’t even notice their negative effect. Orkid/Always set out to change that and make “like a girl” mean amazing things. Today, 76% consider “like a girl” a positive expression, versus only 19% before globally. Our ultimate aim in #LikeAGirl movement was to reach out to the young girls in every point of life and to support them in gaining the self-confidence they need for revealing the potential they have. This year, we chose to tackle their fear of failure. Recent study showed us that 86% of girls aged between 16-24 is afraid of failure. 6 out of 10 girls in their puberty period, want to give up upon a failure and avoid trying new things. Because they think they will be sidelined if they fail. 52% state that they live this fear of failure mostly at school. And Orkid says that the real failure is never trying. We motive girls to #keepgoing. You may watch our video from this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=adct4pkSJsc


Can you also please share P&G’s approach in Gender Equality in terms of hiring and advancing women at work?

Firstly, I would like to say that I am very proud to lead an organization where women represent 55% of the total employees and 33% of the lead team in Turkey. It is a deliberate effort from our side to achieve these targets. In P&G, we are striving for equal representation for women at all levels. Globally we hire 50% women in managerial roles and 45% of our managers are women.

In Turkey, we started the “Future Female Leaders” program aiming to prepare, attract and develop young female students, for a great start in the business world. The participants had the chance to get into a comprehensive development program including case studies, roleplays and field visits and meet senior executives of P&G. The selected 40 students were also able to enter the hiring process early to get a job offer in our Sales department.

We aimed to increase the number of women entrepreneurs and their positive impact to the Turkish economy with our Women Owned Business Program. With the partnership of WeConnect International, we created a robust educational series for 8 weeks for 20 certified women business owners.

We also offer flexible working schedule for new moms. They can work from home or take leave of absence based on their personal needs or preferences.

For a better world and a stronger future, we will continue to support girls and women without compromise. We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished, and we know we have more work to do. We look forward to the opportunities in front of us to make a difference and be a positive force for good, every day.

Photographer & Videographer Credit: P&G

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    Great piece! P & G's approach to Gender Equality should be emulated by many......I really like the idea of MARC (Men Advocating Real Change) in the workplace. May this be widely replicated.
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