Business is a driving force in the push for equality
2018 has been a big year for women’s rights. #MeToo coincided with 100 years since British women won the right to vote, sparking global debate and putting gender inequality firmly back in the spotlight.
Gender is not the only dividing line in the push for equality. Race, ethnicity and sexuality still influence the type of experiences and opportunities people have in life and work.
We believe business is an important driving force in the push for equality. Millions of people connect with our business every day and this gives us a great opportunity to encourage change. This starts within Vodafone, with our employees. We then use our people, products and brand to champion equality within society.
Gender inequality plays out most noticeably in work, at senior levels. There’s about half as many women are in top positions as men, as women often leave to have children and returning can be hard.
ReConnect is helping women push through this glass ceiling. It’s the world’s largest programme to get people back to work after a career break. From India to Ghana, to the UK, it’s running in all our markets and we plan to recruit 1,000 people via ReConnect by 2020.
Most (80%) ReConnectors are women and we focus on recruiting senior people to improve the gender balance at the top of our business. We’re also sharing our experience of ReConnect with suppliers and customers to address the gender gap in business more broadly.
Inspiring the next generation of women into our industry
Telecommunications, like many STEM industries, tends to be male dominated. For every 100 men in STEM careers, there’s only 13 women.
To inspire the next generation of female talent into our industry, we launched Code Like a Girl. This one-week immersive workshop helps girls (14-18 years) learn basic digital skills, including how to code a website.
So far, around 85 girls have completed the training in the UK and over 520 globally. The programme is running in 18 countries in Europe, India and Middle East with around 1,000 girls set to benefit by the end of 2018.
Flying the flag for the LGBT+ community
In our push for equality, we also stand firmly behind the LGBT+ community and are incredibly proud to be a Stonewall top 100 LGBT+ inclusive organisation.
Our research found over half (58%) of people are still not open about their sexuality at work. So we’ve scaled up our LGBT+ and Friends Connect programme adding a buddying scheme, training for managers and employees, and more.
We’re also using our brand to champion a pro-LGBT+ message. Our people proudly flew the rainbow flag at Pride festivals and this year, our VOXI brand got involved too, marching under the slogan ‘Endless love’. VOXI also created exclusive phone cases and t-shirts, so our customers could show their support for equality too.
Our LGBT+ Friends Network was Stonewall’s top LGBT+ network of 2018.
Helping people at risk of domestic abuse
In the UK, one in four women will experience domestic violence in their lifetime. Men are also victims and it affects every aspect of a person's life, including their children. It's happening everyday but most people don't know how to deal with it.
The Vodafone Foundation (UK registered charity 108962) has been working with domestic violence charity, Hestia, to create the Bright Sky app for people in abusive relationships, or concerned friends or family. The app helps users work out how safe their situation is and links them to specialist services to get help. Find out more about Bright Sky or download it at the Apple App Store and Google Play Store
The Bright Sky app follows years of work developing TecSOS - a mobile device that connects people at the highest risk of abuse directly to the police. Find out more about TecSOS