Innovative thinking and a strong executive commitment

Vittorio Colao, Chief Executive, Vodafone 

"Gender equality is a basic human right. While much has been done to try to close the gender gap in recent years, enormous challenges still remain. Women are more likely to live in poverty than men and around 60 million more girls than boys worldwide do not go to school. Mobile communications have a transformative effect on the lives of women and young girls: when a woman gets a mobile phone for the first time, she gains access to information about the world around her, healthcare advice and support, the ability to set up a business and - through mobile money services such as M-Pesa - financial security.

"In the workplace, many companies are now focused on increasing the number of women in management and leadership positions. However, turning ambition into reality is often more difficult than expected. At Vodafone, our ambition is to be one of the best employers in the world for women. Achieving that ambition requires innovative thinking and a strong executive commitment. Examples of our actions to date include our pioneering global maternity policy and our global ReConnect recruitment programme designed to bring women back into the workplace after a career break, both of which can make a real difference to women's working lives."

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