In line with its commitment to foster a more inclusive environment across Africa, the Middle East, India, Europe, and Oceania (AMIEO) region, Nissan launches ‘SheShares,’ a series of webinars poised to shed light on the commercial value of gender diversity. The inaugural event took place on the occasion of International Women’s Day on March 8th.
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Developed in response to Nissan’s focus on creating equitable representation by women at the company and across the corporate sector, SheShares engages team members in critical discussions led by expert external and internal speakers. The first panel, titled ‘Rise of Women in the Automotive Sector – A Business Approach,’ saw participation by Patricia Torres, global head of Sustainable Finance Solutions, Bloomberg; Julia Saini, PhD, global lead, Automotive & Mobility, Frost & Sullivan; and was moderated by Cyba Audi, senior anchor and editor-at-large, Asharq-Bloomberg. Additionally, Lavanya Wadgaonkar, head of global communications, Nissan; and Barbara Thierart-Perrin, VP, Product Planning, Nissan AMIO, joined the first session to share their stories and provide an account of their personal experiences as women working within the automotive sector.
Throughout the event, the panellists discussed a number of themes including the challenges faced by women within the automotive sector, the impact low female participation has on the bottom line, and the need for companies to closely evaluate what works and doesn’t work when it comes to attracting, retaining, and promoting women within the sector. The discussion also explored the growing female customer base within the automotive industry, fueled by the increasingly important role women are playing in car-buying decisions globally.
The launch of SheShares follows the implementation of Nissan’s wider diversity and inclusion (D&I) strategy last year, a core element that defines its corporate purpose. Designed to engage members of the wider Nissan team in key discussions surrounding the implications of diversity and inclusion, these initiatives reinforce the important space D&I occupies within the company’s Nissan NEXT transformation plan.
Beyond the visibly positive influence on its workplace culture, steps taken to enhance diversity and inclusion within Nissan have resulted in increased representation by women. Across the AMI region, year-on-year growth between FY19 and FY20 led to a 14.8 per cent increase in representation by women in senior roles. Indicating a clear path to progress, between FY16 and FY20 representation by women within senior roles in AMI increased by 141 per cent. In the Middle East, the Nissan Middle East office is now leading the way forward in an effort to close the gender gap, with female representation presently accounting for 30 per cent of all staff.
Guillaume Cartier, vice-chair, AMIEO Region and President, AMIO Region, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. said:“The objectives laid out as part of our wider D&I strategy have enabled us to forge a clear path ahead in our mission to advance diversity and inclusion not only within our own business, but across the wider ecosystem. As women now influence 80% of car-buying decisions, they represent a growing base of our customers in the region and across the globe. Yet, between three in four women feel misunderstood by automotive companies, prompting the need to ensure we are continuously enhancing our approach through new initiatives and programs that stem well beyond our internal culture. To date, we have seen our endeavors have a distinctly positive impact on our ability to reach more women by responding to the needs of our female customers.”
In parallel to SheShares, Nissan will also be rolling out quarterly breakfast discussion sessions designed to nurture engagement between female employees across the region and their respective market leads. Titled D&I Circles, these sessions will provide a voice to women by offering a platform through which they can openly communicate with the leadership team. Taking into consideration the thoughts and feedback received during each discussion, these sessions will then lead to actionable recommendations led by a representative from the Women at Nissan ([email protected]) team.
Raeda Alsarayreh, director, corporate communications, AMIO region and chair of women at Nissan, Nissan Motor Co. Ltd. said:“Over the course of the next several months, SheShares will serve to strengthen a culture of respect found within Nissan – one of our key Nissan Way values and a fundamental aspect of diversity. From a regional standpoint, we have seen initiatives like these not only actively support contributions by people from different backgrounds, but also play a vital role in enabling innovation and increased collaboration among employees. Even beyond the impact on our internal culture, these initiatives help to underline the importance of a robust diversity and inclusion strategy that can help drive forward more representation by women in our industry.”