Promoting employment equity and female entrepreneurs
The long-term savings, protection and investment group, Old Mutual, employs over 53,000 people in 34 countries and is committed to promoting gender equality, both internally and externally. The Group works hard to ensure employment equity within its own operations, setting up forums to promote gender equality, and actively monitoring the female ratio, particularly at senior management level. At Nedbank (one of the Group’s South African businesses), for example, it runs a Women’s Empowerment Programme to improve the management skills of female junior managers which, in 2009, was lengthened from three to nine months and widened in its geographic reach to include even more of its employees.
Externally, Old Mutual extends this commitment to the communities in which it operates. It actively promotes enterprise development and employability among women by providing financial assistance to small businesses, improving skills and literacy, and raising the profile of successful women in business. For example, in 2009 members of the Old Mutual Group in southern Africa supported Women’s Action for Development by hosting a number of Field Days for marginalised women in five regions. The Field Days equipped women with basic vocational and business skills. Another example is Masisizane, which is a set of development initiatives aimed at supporting national economic transformation in South Africa, run through Old Mutual South Africa. One of Masisizane’s four initiatives focuses on helping rural women succeed in business. By providing access to investment, business development support and skills development, it enables rural women to develop their own micro, small and medium sized enterprises, helping them succeed in business and encouraging economic transformation in the region.
Providing access to global education for all
Access to global education for all is a business and philanthropic priority for Pearson. The company recognises that, as a publisher with the ability to reach large audiences and partner in the education process, its role is a privileged one that brings special responsibilities: its products themselves have a fundamental and significant ‘impact on society’.
Pearson is committed to diversity in publishing. For example, through its Penguin brand, this commitment means that Pearson supports a range of initiatives in several countries aimed at promoting diversity in the book world and seeks out new titles and imprints that will also appeal to particular cultures and age groups. The company supports and encourages local publishing, especially in local languages, extending its commitment to making great literature accessible to as wide an audience as it can. Pearson has continued its efforts to make books and reading available to as many people in as many formats as possible: the Group’s inroads into the world of digital print have moved forward further in 2009, with a number of eBook titles.
At the heart of Pearson is a social purpose, to help people learn globally. This is why the company is committed to consulting with academics, researchers, teachers, students, readers and others to make sure learning continues to improve.