Cross Gender Mentorship for Women Leadership

Danone Indonesia appears in the media lately due to its new maternity leave policy that allows six month leave for its female employees and 10 days for male employees following the birth of their children. Danone Indonesia’s Director of Human Resources, Evan Indrawijaya, believes that this policy is an initial step to get to a bigger goal: achieving gender equality.

Danone is one of the companies supporting HeForShe, a solidarity campaign for the advancement of women initiated by UN Women. Its goal is to achieve equality by encouraging men and boys as agents of change and to take action against negative inequalities faced by women and girls.

The Global CEO of Danone, Emmanuel Faber, stated on HeForShe website that “Supporting women’s rights and gender equality has proven to encourage sustainable development and inclusive prosperity.” One of Danone’s supports is a pilot project that gives maternity leave for 18 weeks for mothers and fathers in 130 branches worldwide.

Reducing Number of New Mother’s Turn Over

Evan Indrawijaya joined as HR Director in Danone Indonesia in September 2015. He claimed that parental policy is not the only innovation. “(We) go even further than the parental policy which Danone applied globally. Even more advance than the government’s regulation. Three years ago, we gave maternity leave for four months. In 2016, it was changed to six months.” Evan stated.

“Women have two different roles, as employee in the office and also as housewive,” said the man who obtained his MBA from Antwerp Management School, Belgium. He further stated the dillemma of working mothers who have just given birth.   Career or household choices often lead  to women’s decision to resign from work. Danone’s business is nutrition with a mission to increase the quality of Indonesian’s next generation. This commitment is manifested in its policy, give longer period leave so that mothers are able to give breastfeeding in six-months period. 

The six-month and ten-day paternity leave policy has been implemented for a year. This policy has shown quitely positif impact. The number of new mother’s turn over has decreased by 20%. Mothers return to office after taking maternity leaves claimed that they are more ready mentally to leave their children. Male employees also showed positive response after taking ten-day leave to accompany their wife giving birth. “According to their supervisors, they return with more energy and involvement with their work,”said Evan.

Besides parental leave, working mothers in Danone Indonesia are also included in the counseling program with Nutrition Ambassadors. The Ambassadors are fellow co-workers with competence on nutrition. “They get certified. Their competence is based on several level. This porgram has started since 2015. One ambassador is able to serve 10-15 mothers,” said the father of two children who has worked as Human Resources Director in various multinational companies for a dozen of years.

Evan also explained clinic’s facility equipped with pediatrician in Danone’s Office and its factory. Employees can also entrust their children in the daycare, which was held for two weeks after and before Lebaran (Muslim festive day), “Daycare is for children up to 10 years old. We provide 10 nannies who work based on the level of the kid’s age,” explained Evan.

Gender Equality and Flexible Working Hours

The breakthroughs that Evan introduced are not only intended for mother but also the whole female workers in Danone Indonesia. Cross Gender Mentorship is a mentoring program given by male directors to the female staff at managerial level. “The gender proportion at the director level is 70 for men and 30 for women. There is a perception pf a glass ceiling at the senior level. Why can’t women rise to senior level? Because if they do then they must deliver 90% of their commitment