Opinion| Women Empowerment … Who’s the Winner?

Ali N. Karaman
5 Min Read

Women’s Inclusion and Empowerment Policies Are Not Just a Moral Imperative, but a Core Element for Business Growth and a Key Driver of Success.

The narrative of women’s empowerment has moved from the fringes to the center stage in recent years at the government and the private sector. Despite significant strides, the path toward true equality remains paved with challenges. Today, we stand at a critical juncture: will we seize the opportunity to unleash the full potential of half of the world’s population or continue to lose out on the immense contributions they can offer?

The arguments in favor of women’s empowerment are not merely moral imperatives, but also compelling economic and social realities. Studies consistently reveal a strong correlation between gender equality and economic growth. Empowering women through access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunities leads to a more skilled and productive workforce, fostering innovation and driving national prosperity.

At Philip Morris Egypt and Levant, we are proud of the progress we have made in promoting gender balance within our workforce. We plan and execute dedicated programs to acquire, develop, and retain female talents in alignment with Philip Morris International’s global strategy. In Egypt, females represent about 40% of the workforce, and they hold 40 leadership positions. Females in Lebanon represent 45% of the workforce and hold almost a third of the key leadership positions. Jordan on the other hand is headed by a female General Manager and 30% of the key leadership positions are occupied by women. These figures show our full commitment to calling for a diverse and inclusive environment that provides an opportunity for growth and development for everyone around the world.

Equal pay is a huge point of consideration when we discuss gender equality in the workplace. In 2019, we were proud to be the first international company to receive the Global EQUAL-SALARY Certification, a testament to our unwavering dedication to closing the gender pay gap. Achieving this certification wasn’t just a one-time accomplishment. It’s the culmination of a continuous effort that began with a deep commitment to gender equality. We actively analyze and adjust our compensation practices to ensure complete fairness and transparency. This ongoing process ensures that women performing the same work as their male counterparts receive equal compensation, which enhances the work environment within the company and ensures sustainable growth.

Females play different roles in society and are faced with many expectations as an employee, mother, daughter, and partner. We understand the dilemma of motherhood and Philip Morris strongly respects the needs of new parents by providing comprehensive parental leave policies. This allows individuals to dedicate appropriate time to their families during this critical period without jeopardizing their careers or professional development. We believe that this support fosters a strong sense of well-being among our employees, ultimately contributing to a more engaged and productive workforce.

In Egypt & Levant, we are keen on skills development to ensure our local workforce matches international work standards. We are proud that our learning and development frameworks have succeeded in exporting a large number of Arab female talents to Philip Morris affiliates across the globe including Switzerland, the USA, UAE, and Italy, among others.

In closing, today, despite the remarkable societal achievements made to empower women, there is still room for more. Integrating and empowering women with their unique perspectives brings great value to the decision-making table and distinguishes winning organizations that are growing sustainably through an enhanced understanding of employees, customers, vendors, and community partners. We at Philip Morris Egypt & Levant remain committed to leading by example and advocating for a more inclusive future where the criteria to advance will always be talent, performance, potential, and competence.

Ali N. Karaman, Managing Director of Philip Morris Egypt & Levant

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