To build on the momentum of International Women’s Day, the president of the Avery Dennison Foundation, Alicia Procello, shares her thoughts on the importance of Women’s Empowerment and why it’s a philanthropic pillar for the Avery Dennison Foundation.
“In many places around the world, women are the heart of their community. Global research, statistics, and outcomes show that when you invest in women, you double your investment in families and communities,” shares Alicia Procello.
According to the National Women’s Law Center, women are more likely to live in poverty than men. So the need is demonstrably there, Alicia confirms, “and our employees see that. They often champion programs that run the gamut from uplifting girls, to women reentering the workforce.”
“When more women work, economies grow,” reports UN Women, citing statistics from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). “An increase in female labour force participation — or a reduction in the gap between women’s and men’s labour force participation — results in faster economic growth.”
The key to expanding statistics likes these into norms is education and opportunity. That’s where the Avery Dennison Foundation puts its focus. “When the Foundation launched in 2010, our core pillars were Sustainability and Education. Pretty quickly though, we saw, and heard from employees, that empowering women should be another critical focal point for us. So we added Women’s Empowerment as a third philanthropic pillar to the Foundation’s mission,” Alicia says. And the Foundation became intentional about it, she adds. “We created a metric, a target, goals we were aiming towards. Once you claim it and put metrics around it, it drives action.”
Women’s Empowerment programs through the Avery Dennison Foundation include a $50,000 grant to Global Greengrants to advance women’s empowerment and environmental sustainability in
the Global South. “The goal of the grant was to provide funding for seven female-led grantees working on issues of environmental sustainability and women’s empowerment,” Alicia explains. “We recently learned that 10 programs were funded, including:
Increasing women’s role in decision-making in China
Engaging women in Honduras around food security issues
Strengthening women’s voices to defend their rights in Mexico”
“Each of the projects that the Avery Dennison Foundation has helped support is amplifying women’s voices, and ensuring their increased participation and leadership in local environmental sustainability initiatives,” says Ursula Miniszewski, Program and Development Officer, Gender and Environment, Global Greengrants Fund. With the support of the Avery Dennison Foundation, “we are helping women access their basic human rights to a clean, healthy, and safe environment.”
A recent Avery Dennison Foundation grant was made to the Pakistan Chapter of the World Memon Organization which operates the Memon Industrial & Technical Institute, a school that offers vocational training to low income youth. The grant of US$7,500 over two years supports the purchase of 10 new computerized sewing machines and 5 new embroidery machines plus materials and supplies, to help train 150 new female students in sewing techniques. Sewing is a viable trade and career opportunity for women who have a minimal education.
“Our employees are committed to making a difference,” Alicia says. “That’s why the Foundation’s grantmaking includes the employee voice as much as possible. They see where the needs are in their communities and they share that with us.”
“I’m proud to work for a company that then invests in those communities,” Alicia continues. “Avery Dennison acknowledges local realities and the inequities women face, and is willing to support women in need.” And by doing so, Alicia adds, the company and the Foundation are aligned in terms of values, commitment, and action.
The Avery Dennison Foundation’s mission is to advance the causes of education, women’s empowerment, and sustainability in the communities where Avery Dennison employees live and work. “We have employees all over the world, living in diverse social and economic realities,” Alicia states. “A commitment to making a difference at the local level, where our people are, is the heart of the work the Foundation does.”
To learn more about the Avery Dennison Foundation and Corporate Social Responsibility, visit www.averydennison.com/foundation
For more information about Avery Dennison, visit www.averydennison.com
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