Embracing Equity: Championing female founded small businesses for International Women’s Day

 March 05, 2023

Being an inclusive business with diverse representation at all levels of its business is very important to UK retailer, Sainsbury's. The well-known UK supermarket chain is firmly committed to being a truly inclusive retailer where every single one of its colleagues is treated fairly and with respect. Sainsbury's holds fast its desire to see all its colleagues fulfil their potential and for its customers to feel welcome when they shop at Sainsbury's supermarkets. 

As part of this commitment, Sainsbury's is Embracing Equity by championing female founded small businesses for International Women’s Day 2023.

Building on a brilliant initiatives that Sainsbury’s has already introduced, including supporting its parents and carers through its enhanced Family Leave Policy, and supporting its colleagues affected by the menopause, Sainsbury's continues to shine a light on women’s experiences in the workplace and how the company can continue to push for progress.

Aligning with the IWD 2023 campaign theme #EmbraceEquity, Sainsbury's recognises that gender equity, compared to gender equality, isn't just a nice-to-have, it's a must-have. Sainsbury's understands the importance of moving beyond equality, where people are given the same resources or opportunities, to equity, which recognises the unique circumstances of each person and allocates resources and opportunities to reach equal outcomes.

In support, Sainsbury's is celebrating the achievements of women in its supply chain, with a spotlight on the incredible female-founded brands that the company supports through its impressive Future Brands programme. Through the Future Brands programme, Sainsbury's aims to discover, introduce and scale up tomorrow’s emerging, innovative brands to excite its customers by providing them with the best ranges to shop.

Among Sainsbury's range of fabulous female-founded or female co-founded brands at Sainsbury’s are Howdah, Amandla, and Yoni.

Read more about these women's fabulous stories and their passion to #EmbraceEquity

Meet the women forging thriving businesses

Falu Shah is founder of Howdah which creates award-winning snacks and nibbles, inspired by the tastes and ingredients of Bombay street food. Through sales of their vegan friendly products, they give free school lunches to children in need in India through their “this snack gives back” mission ... more.

Praisy Dlamini is Managing Director of Amandla, an exciting new South African wine company run entirely by a passionate team of black wine industry women. The Amandla wine range is a bold, unique and progressive new wine brand, a celebration of the rich history of South Africa, and the collective stories of the team behind it ... more.

Mariah Mansvelt Beck is co-founder of Yoni Yoni that produces sustainable period products created with the belief that the time has come to open up, share our stories, and care for our female-sex bodies at every stage of life. Their goal is to make period care as honest and sustainable as possible, with no perfume, plastics or artificial absorbents ... more.

A strong track record valuing diversity and inclusion

Sainsbury's IWD

When it comes to Sainsbury's commitment to being an inclusive retailer where people love to work and shop, there are consistently some outstandng achievements.

For example, 43.4% female representation in senior leadership positions, which is an increase of 9 per cent year on year.

There is also a GBP 1 million commitment for Thrive at Sainsbury’s, a UK retail first incubator programme for Black founder-led businesses.

Regarding wellbeing, every colleague at Sainsbury's has access to mental health and wellbeing support through tools and further resources that enable them to make positive and proactive choices to thrive in all aspects of life.

And in terms of inclusion, 75 per cent of Sainsbury's colleagues through the company's our colleague engagement survey say they are able to be themselves at work

And what about diverse representation? Sainsbury's has a firm commitment around achieving diverse representation in leadership positions by 2024.

Sainsbury's is also a Disability Confident Leader at the highest tier of accreditation in the UK Government's Disability Confident Programme.

Plus there have been 10,000+ downloads of Sainsbury's wellbeing app, Unmind, since its launch. 

Sainsbury's approach is focused on:

  • Creating an engaging and inclusive workplace to enhance the lived experiences of its colleagues
  • Increasing its success in attracting, hiring, developing, progressing and retaining diverse talent across our business to ensure we represent the external community and its customers
  • Celebrating difference and showcasing the achievements of its diverse colleagues
  • Ensuring it meets the needs of its customers and local community




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