Pakistan has ranked steady at 148/149 on the WEF’s Gender Gap Index, with various challenges faces by women in the country with regards to social indicators like health, education & financial inclusion. With an almost gender equal population, 80% of our female population struggles with quality access to work.
Unilever is helping address this through its Guddi Baji livelihoods program. Guddi Baji, literally meaning “The Good Sister” – functions as a female community influencer program, which helps women open the door to economic empowerment. The project envisions to bridge the prevailing gender gap by giving women in rural Pakistan the tools to become entrepreneurs.
Through Guddi Baji, we have created an entrepreneurial movement whereby progressive women in villages are given an opportunity to act as ambassadors and route-to-market agents for Unilever providing a means of income for them to support their families. This model incorporates recruitment and training in collaboration with a social partner that commands a strong footprint in rural Pakistan.
We developed a partnership and consortium with a local social welfare organization – the Rural Support Program Network - to connect with the most vulnerable people in local communities. Through this platform, we have created an entrepreneurial movement whereby women in villages are given an opportunity to act as ambassadors and route-to-market agents for Unilever, providing a means of income for them to support their families. This model incorporates recruitment, training and capability building via comprehensive training tools, focusing on techniques to run profitable businesses.
Now, 1,700 women across Pakistan are self-employed Unilever ambassadors and distributors, while also acting as healthcare agents. Our partnership allowed us to reach women in rural communities and help enhance their livelihoods, which is one of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Goals as well as the UNDP Sustainable Development Goals 5, 8, and 10.
Today, the Guddi Baji network empowers almost a million women, delivering on our purpose to create value for society through access to trusted brands, financial inclusion and well-being support.