With the success of International Women’s Day, International Confectionery sits down Mars Wrigley Vice President of R&D Nadia Attar-Bashi to discuss her achievements in this huge industry.
Where was the Mars Wrigley brand born?
Mars has been proudly family owned for more than 100 years, creating the world’s favourite sweet treats and so much more since then. We still live by this family-run ethos, allowing us to invest in the legacy of household brands to ensure the long-term future of our business, people, and planet.
International Women’s Day is around the corner – why is it important that we celebrate this day?
It is a day for everyone (women and men) to come together to celebrate the amazing contribution of women throughout history and how critical they are to create a better future for us all. It’s an opportunity to recognise the incredible women that have inspired us and to show girls and young women the possibilities for the future.
But it’s also an opportunity for us to pause, and while we celebrate our progress, recognise that today gender inequality and discrimination against women continues to persist throughout society at many levels. This includes women at all intersections of society, whether it be race, religion, ability or sexual orientation.
Awareness of, and action against this discrimination by individuals, societies, businesses and governments continue to be vital for achieving gender equality. It is only by empowering women that we can drive real change, and International Women’s Day serves as an important reminder to us all.
You yourself have a proud history within Mars Wrigley for almost 18 years, can you tell me more about the company’s stance on equality?
I’m proud to be part of Mars Wrigley for over 18 years, and the length of my career here is testament to the progressive approach of our business to drive diversity and inclusion, and to nurture women’s career paths.
Women are at the heart of Mars Wrigley’s success. They work in our offices, labs, factories, supply chains and they also make up more than half of our consumer base. That’s why, amongst other initiatives, we are committed to reaching 100% gender balanced leadership teams, ensuring equal pay across our global business, and are a signatory of the UN Women’s Empowerment Principles.
What new developments are occurring to promote more women into STEM fields like R&D?
It’s a privilege for me to lead a team of inspiring women at Mars Wrigley Europe who are so passionate about R&D. But there’s work still to do, with only 24% of women making up the UK STEM workforce, and an average of 43% of women leaving full-time work in STEM roles after maternity leave.
I believe that as an industry there is more, we can do to encourage women in STEM careers, and to continue nurturing STEM talent so that women are retained within the workforce and are supported into leadership positions.
I’m proud of the work we’re doing at Mars Wrigley to nurture female talent through STEM education and career development at all levels of our organisation – as shown by the fact that over 60% of our R&D team and over 70% of our global Mars Wrigley R&D leadership team is comprised of women.
Read more of our latest edition here: March 2022 Single Issue form – International Confectionery Magazine (in-confectionery.com)