PepsiCo, the global food and beverage company, has launched the region’s first Million Women Mentors® chapter in Riyadh. Million Women Mentors is a global movement designed to support the engagement of millions of Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) mentors, both male and female, in order to increase the interest and confidence of girls and women to persist and succeed in STEM programs and careers.
With female representation in the STEM fields still lower than that of their male counterparts, Million Women Mentors (MWM) aims to be a platform to give women in their early careers the boost they need to thrive in their professions, which have the opportunity to form the future of the society envisioned by Saudi Vision 2030. The pillars of Vision 2030 support a thriving economy in which men and women have the capacity to contribute to the community’s growth and successes.
“Vision 2030 aims to increase women’s participation in the workforce to 30% and encouraging more women into the male-dominated STEM industries will significantly contribute to this goal,” said Satyavrat Pendharkar, General Manager and Vice President, Saudi Snacks Foods Ltd, PepsiCo Saudi Arabia. “PepsiCo has a global commitment to empowering communities, as well as to creating equal opportunities for anyone to succeed within our company. By deploying the principles of our Performance with Purpose philosophy here in the Kingdom, we hope to provide women with the backing they need to be confident when entering STEM careers.”
MWM started in 2014 and had more than two million mentor commitments by 2018 with a goal of reaching three million by 2020. The new chapter in Riyadh is the first in the MENA region, with 12 mentors and mentees signed up so far across the fields of supply chain, information technology, research and development, and finance. New mentees will be enrolled into the annual program each year. The program as recently launched, features two components: STEM mentoring, in which each associate has been paired with a PepsiCo STEM mentor to receive one-on-one mentoring, and participate in PepsiCo’s Supply Chain Academy, in which each associate will attend training courses and site visits, in addition to their mentoring time.
Within the coming five years, PepsiCo aims to have at least two of the program participants in leadership positions.
“PepsiCo walks the talk when it comes to providing women with opportunities to thrive within the company, and the launch of MWM in Riyadh will help to inspire more women to pursue rewarding careers within the industries that are shaping our changing world,” said Delel Chaabouni, Chief Information Officer (CIO), PepsiCo Middle East and North Africa. “I am personally thrilled to have had the opportunity to launch this important initiative in Saudi Arabia. As a woman in a traditionally male-dominated field, I have first-hand experience in forging a career within a STEM sector, and believe that MWM has the potential to give women the boost of confidence they need to realize they can achieve success in whatever industry they want.”
PepsiCo pursues sustainability through its Performance with Purpose (PwP) platform, including tackling societal issues and improving livelihoods. The company aims to do so by implementing gender parity and equal pay policies, while also working with local communities to provide opportunities for individuals to thrive.