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Enabling women’s economic empowerment

In the course of two recent projects, we’ve been helping to improve opportunities and working conditions for women, internationally. This has involved working with some high-profile businesses to focus on their far-reaching supply chains, and helping The Coca-Cola Company to deliver their women’s economic empowerment programme.

Setting the scene

Our Economic Development team within Sustainability & Climate Change (S&CC) is leading the Work and Opportunities for Women (WOW) programme, for the Foreign & Commonwealth Office, which aims to help women around the world access improved economic opportunities.

Separately, over the past 10 years our S&CC team has supported The Coca-Cola Company with the women’s economic empowerment programme, (5by20®), which had reached 6m women by 2020. We’ve helped to measure and tell the story of millions of women benefiting from business skills, mentoring, access to finance, and assets to enhance their own livelihoods.

How we helped

The WOW programme has established partnerships with nine multinational companies, including M&S, The Body Shop, and Twinings, that are improving opportunities and working conditions for 300,000 women within their supply chains. 

For example, in partnership with M&S, we’re working in garment factories in Bangladesh to understand and break down barriers to progression facing women, such as the disproportionate amount of unpaid work and care responsibilities they take on, and gendered assumptions around management.

And 2020 saw the launch of HomeNet International, a new global network funded partly through a grant from our WOW programme, which will advocate for the rights of the estimated 260 million home-based workers around the world.

The women’s economic empowerment programme has delivered business skills training, mentoring and the provision of assets (e.g. finance or physical items such as coolers or fridges to sell products) to enhance livelihoods of disadvantaged women globally.

Cristina Bortes

"The Work and Opportunities for Women (WOW) programme is the UK Government’s flagship women’s economic empowerment programme. I am really proud of the work we are delivering under WOW, helping women working in global value chains access better jobs and influencing the UK and global agenda on women’s economic empowerment. This has become even more urgent in the last year, as women workers have been disproportionately affected by the impacts of Covid-19."

Cristina Bortes, Sustainability and International Development Director

Making a difference

Using our skills and networks to focus on building opportunities for women around the world, and dismantling barriers they face, is a way we are working to solve important problems and build trust in society, which is central to our purpose.

The global reporting architecture we developed for The Coca-Cola Company allowed us to ‘count’ each individual woman enabled as part of the programme in order to track progress and ensure it was on track to deliver on its ambition. This also enabled the company to assure and report robust, reliable numbers to its stakeholders and share progress on gender equality through its supply chain.

Contact us

Annual Report enquiries

Corporate Affairs, PwC United Kingdom

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