Global household appliance brand Arçelik has announced an investment of $8 million (£6.6m) in projects to promote gender equality.
Turkish-based Arçelik – whose portfolio includes the brands Beko, Grundig, Blomberg and Leisure – was recently listed in Blomberg’s Gender Equality Index for the first time and is a signatory of the UN’s Women Empowerment Principles.
The $8m initiative aims to boost the number of women entrepreneurs and help unlock their economic potential through mentoring and networking opportunities.
As part of this commitment, Arçelik has also pledged to increase the number of women entrepreneurs in retail by providing specialist training in finance, product and sales, with mentorship from industry experts as well as practical support to establish physical retail sites.
Last year, Beko’s 100 Women Dealers project almost doubled the percentage of women dealers for the brand, reaching 9% in 2022, with the goal of increasing that to 25% by 2026.
The initiative also aims to tackle systematic barriers much earlier, especially in the technology and innovation sectors, where women are underrepresented. It aims to target women and girls at the beginning of their professional journeys and give them the skills, knowledge and confidence to enters careers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields.
Commenting on the initiative, Arçelik chief people officer Toygan Pulat said: “As well as celebrating women’s achievements, International Women’s Day is an important moment to reflect on how far we have yet to go to achieve true gender equality across society.
“At Arçelik, our ambition is to empower women with the right skills and tools to thrive and help remove barriers to entry into key sectors such as business and technology. As these barriers often emerge well before women enter the workforce, we aim to engage girls and young women throughout their education journey to tackle stereotypes and start building their confidence to participate and lead in the tech sector. For us, this is a continuous mission.”
Arçelik said that it aims to increase the percentage of women working across its business by 2030, with a target of 35% for the total workforce, 30% in management and 38% in STEM-related roles.