Go to content Go to the main menu Go to search

News Room

Sodexo supports the UAE’s pledge to become a gender equal economy

March 08, 2021

Sodexo Group was included in the 2021 Bloomberg Gender – Equality Index for the fourth consecutive year

UAE, March 2021: Sodexo, the global leader in services that improve the Quality of Life, supports the UAE Gender Balance Council’s vision to become one of the world’s top 25 countries in achieving gender equality in 2021. The group is committed to providing a diversified, inclusive workplace culture and proactively launched gender-balanced initiatives across its global presence, fostering a business culture of equal opportunities, at the regional and international level.

The onset of the Covid-19 pandemic has drastically impacted the global business landscape, but as the world adapts to the new normal, gender balances in organizations are likely to be affected. Female professionals attempting to re-join the workforce could possibly face reductions in pay scales and lower paid jobs upon return to the workplace. Sodexo’s gender balanced initiatives ensure women are treated fairly and equally within the organization, enabling the organization to maintain their gender balanced business model despite challenges faced during the pandemic. The Quality of Life services provider was recently included in the 2021 Bloomberg Gender – Equality Index for its commitment to recognizing and advancing talented women in the work environment. As an advocate of equal opportunities, Sodexo follows a gender balanced succession plan, which is focused on recruiting and promoting deserving women.

The avid gender equality practitioner’s ‘Spirit of Inclusion’ program requires all managers and senior team members to attend a day-long workshop, developing ideas and action plans to create and nurture an inclusive work environment for employees.

Rachid Noujeim, CEO of Sodexo Middle East and Chairperson of SoTogether for Middle East & Africa says, “In the past, the Middle East economy was predominantly patriarchal with one of the highest gender labour market gaps. This trend is changing as organizations are realizing the benefits of incorporating gender-balanced teams of 40% - 60% male-to-female employee ratio.”

Mr Noujeim continues, “Currently 60% - 70% of university graduates are women and 75% of global consumer-spending decisions are made by women, driving business growth across all industries. Encouraging female professionals to join the work force will support organizations to understand the business landscape better. Sodexo is committed towards closing the existing gender gap and supports the UAE’s vision to become a gender equal economy.”

In 2018, Sodexo in partnership with the United Nations (UN) signed the ‘Women Empowerment Principles (WEP)’ across its Middle East presence, undertaking steps for the organization to follow in order to diversify, effectively recognizing and advancing women in business and society. Sodexo also launched a group-wide gender network called ‘SoTogether’, comprising of both men and women employees.

Christina Dsouza, Head Brand & Communications and the Co-Chair of SoTogether for Middle East & Africa says, “SoTogether acts as a medium of progress engaging and influencing leadership teams on business benefits of gender balance, identifying impactful actions and a roadmap to address gaps. The network supports women progress in their careers within the Sodexo Group framework by providing mentoring and development opportunities. Men are an important part of this network as their support is crucial towards gender equality.”

Sodexo has a zero tolerance policy for acts of harassment and discrimination at the workplace. In June 2017, Sodexo and the International Union of Food (IUF) signed an agreement committed to preventing and combating sexual harassment in the workplace. The policies were implemented to support new members to join the organization and encourage existing team members to voice their concerns against discrimination. The policies adhere to strict ethical and legal workplace protocols for all employees to follow. In addition, all employees receive mandatory training on the policies during their induction period.

Pamela Di Benedetto, General Counsel of Africa and Middle East, Sodexo commented on the company’s commitment to encouraging and supporting women, “The majority of my professional life has been spent in predominantly male dominated work environments, however, since joining Sodexo about 4 years ago, I have risen through the ranks, becoming an integral part of the decision-making process for strategic growth in the region. Gender equality has always been a key focus for the organization and initiatives such as the ‘Spirit of Inclusion’ has provided me and several other brilliantly talented women within Sodexo to grow, providing a great platform for an inclusive work environment, that enhances positive perceptions of gender roles within the organization whilst empowering women to grow further in their careers.”

To find out more about gender balanced workplace approaches and initiatives, please visit the Sodexo website: www.sodexo.com

Back to the list

How can we help?

Press relations

Christina DSOUZA

Brand & Communications Business Partner | christina.dsouza@sodexo.com

Follow us on Linkedin