Equal opportunities in Egypt
Demonstration effects in the sector; introducing international standards
Juhayna is an Egyptian producer and distributor of dairy and juice products. When the Bank first started working with the company in 2013, only 127 of their 4,610 employees were women – a mere 3 per cent. While reflective of both a low participation of women in the labour force and the culture in the Middle East and North Africa region, both the EBRD and the client saw this as an opportunity to help Juhayna promote equal opportunities in their workplace and increase the participation and progression of female employees. Therefore, technical assistance to promote best practices in human resources management was also provided by the Bank.
In 2014 a Gender and Equal Opportunities Committee, comprised of senior and middle management across the Juhayna Group, was established and a gender implementation plan was developed and put to the board. In March 2015, the policy and mandate of the committee was approved and a budget allocated. As a result, 2015 saw the approval of a standalone Equal Opportunities Policy in the company, and the development of a comprehensive strategy to disseminate and “socialise” the policy among employees. With Juhayna being the market leader in the agribusiness sector in Egypt, its implementation of international standards on equal opportunities will have a positive spillover effect into the rest of the region.
The work on equal opportunities in Juhayna is intended to generate lessons for the replication of gender advisory services in other SEMED-based companies. This cooperation has also boosted Juhayna’s profile in the agribusiness sector as a leader in corporate social standards.
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