L’Oréal scoops recognition for strong gender equality commitment

By Lucy Whitehouse

- Last updated on GMT

L’Oréal scoops gender equality recognition: but is it enough?

Related tags Award Executive officer Gender

In a sign that the major beauty corporation is keeping up with its commitment to diversity and equality, global beauty giant L’Oréal has been awarded a French prize for commitment to gender equality.

The award, the arès de la féminisation des instances dirigeantes des grandes entreprises françaises, specifically recognises French businesses, and this year was its fifth edition.

L’Oréal was given the second prize overall, and was also awarded a special prize (one of four given at the awards ceremony), the Award for Gender Equality in its Executive Committees.

Jean-Paul Agon, Chairman and CEO of L’Oréal, said: “These two awards recognize L’Oréal’s long-standing commitment to equality between men and women at all levels of the company, and notably in our executive committees. They encourage us to pursue our efforts to advance gender equality within our company​.”

Gender equality still lacking in the industry

Scrutiny is often given to the beauty industry, a consumer goods market that depends so heavily on women as its primary consumers, and yet sees leadership positions filled often by men.

Data from Euromonitor International, market research provider, shows that global per capita spending on grooming products was $6.50 for men in 2015 and $58.50 for women in the US, for example, and yet men dominate the top spots.

According to the LedBetter Gender Equality Index​, beauty brands have an average of just 29 percent female leadership across boards and executive teams, as reported by The Entrepreneur​ earlier this year.

Indeed, the LedBetter index showed that some leading companies, such as L Brands (parent company of Victoria’s Secret and Bath & Co), have no women on their executive teams at all.

Indeed, while clearly doing well comparatively in this area, L’Oréal itself only has women making up 33% of its Exec Committee, suggesting even the leaders in the industry still have a significant way to go.

L’Oréal’s win

The awards that L’Oréal has seen success in most recently are carried out by Ethics & Boards, Observatory of the Governance of Listed Companies in France.

The ranking measures the gender diversity of boards and executives of the 120 companies listed in the SBF 120 index, taking into account women's representation within their leadership structures.

Over the past five years, L’Oréal has been making progress in this ranking, the company says, noting that it is ranked second in total, and first among CAC 40 companies.

Worldwide, as of 2016, the company states that women represent 70% of L’Oréal’s total workforce, 46% of the Board of Directors, 33% of the Executive Committee and 48% of the Management committees.

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