Celebrating International Women’s Day at BAT in West and Central Africa

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This year’s International Women’s Day (IWD) themed ‘Choose to Challenge’ provided an excellent opportunity to celebrate British American Tobacco’s (BAT)’s diverse and inclusive culture and show the company’s commitment to gender diversity.

Diversity is at the heart of BAT’s Ethos and the company is proud of its diversity & inclusion agenda and the progress it has made which is evident in the number of female representations across the business. Remarkably, BAT has achieved its ambition of having 33% female Board representation, increased female representation in senior leadership teams to 27%, and 38% across all management roles; increased female representation in the 2020 graduate intake to 58% and provided support for the development of 500 plus female employees through the company’s Women in the Leadership programme.

In addition, BAT, in 2020, launched the ‘IGNITE Returners Programme’ which supports women returning back into the workplace following a career break. The company continues to build gender diverse talent pipelines through a range of initiatives such as the Women in STEM programme, which is aimed at attracting, developing and retaining more women in our Research and Development, Operations and Digital & Information functions.

To celebrate this year’s IWD, the company held a global virtual event hosted by Kingsley Wheaton BAT’s Chief Marketing Officer and Hae In Kim, BAT’s, Director of Talent, Culture and Inclusion for the Group. They were joined by a guest speaker, Jennifer Thomas, Communications Director at GSK and co-founder of OPUS, and an array of internal panelists, including Temitope Akinsanya, Area Head of HR, BAT in West and Central Africa (WCA). Commenting on the celebrations, Temitope Akinsanya, noted that,

“Diversity, including gender, remains a key focus for us at BAT because a diverse workforce understands our growing consumer base. It also brings different perspectives and backgrounds together that benefit our culture and the business, making BAT a great place to work.

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“For us at BAT WCA, our commitment to creating a gender equal-equal workplace is unwavering and critical to our ambitions to build ‘A Better Tomorrow™’. Globally, we have already accomplished a lot and we have plans to achieve so much more. By 2025, we aim to increase the proportion of women in our senior teams to 40% and women in management to 45% by building a sustainable pipeline across all grades.”

Similarly, in a welcome address at the Groupement Interpatronal du Cameroun (GICAM) commemoration in Cameroun, Area Head, Government Affairs, BAT in WCA, Mireille Feunou, highlighted some initiatives geared at empowering BAT female staff:

“At BAT, uplifting women to handle more leadership and decision-making positions has been at the forefront of the business agenda. We have a number of initiatives that drive this. Some of these include our Women in Leadership programme, which support women’s progression into senior roles; Women in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) which aims to attract; Parents@BAT, which offers a minimum of 16 weeks fully paid leave for new mothers and a return-to-work guarantee, including flexible working opportunities as well as an online advice service offering coaching support; and so much more.”

Employees of BAT in WCA marked the day by participating in a photo challenge in which they shared their pledge to challenge gender stereotypes and bias in the workplace and in society while building a society where everyone can thrive.

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