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We employ over 38,500 women directly and provide employment opportunities for hundreds of thousands more across our global supplier base. We believe that achieving greater gender parity will strengthen our company significantly through understanding the needs of the women, men, families and businesses who rely on our networks and services.

Our 2025 goal

Our ambition is for Vodafone to become the world’s best employer for women

The need for gender equality in the workplace

The need for gender equality in the workplace has been recognised as a critical issue for decades. However, women still remain under-represented within many companies, and strikingly so at the most senior levels.

Equality of opportunity between men and women is a key indicator of long-term social stability and economic prosperity. However, women still remain under-represented within many companies, and strikingly so at the most senior levels; women only occupy 14% of senior executive positions in the 600 largest companies in Europe1.

A lack of support during pregnancy and the challenge of balancing childcare with work account for many women’s decision to leave paid employment. Some women experience difficulties in returning to work after a career break; others return to work but find fewer opportunities for promotion and progression than their male counterparts2. This is a lost opportunity: for the many women affected and for the global economy deprived of their skills.

Women only hold 14% of senior positions in Europe’s 600 largest companies

Our commitment to women’s empowerment begins at the top of the company.

An ambition to be the best employer for women by 2025

We have a strong commitment to diversity and women’s empowerment within our own business and believe that achieving greater gender parity will strengthen our company significantly over time.

Our long-term ambition is to become an employer with such a strong track record for attracting, retaining and developing talented women that by 2025 we will be widely considered to be the world’s best employer for women.

Our short-term goal is to increase the proportion of women in leadership and management roles globally to 30%, by 2020 (2018: 29%).

Increasing the number of women in leadership and management roles3


The proportion of women currently in leadership and management roles in our business globally is 29% – close to the 2020 target we set of 30%.

Developing programmes to help talented women to progress

Programmes such as our ground-breaking global maternity policy and our ReConnect initiative (focused on bringing women back into the workforce after a career break) are designed to help us to address the challenge of retaining female talent and will maximise our ability to recruit and develop women at every level of our workforce.

Our commitment to women’s empowerment begins at the top of the company. Vodafone’s diversity and gender equality activities are overseen by the Vodafone Group Board and are led directly by our Group Chief Executive, Vittorio Colao, who is one of 10 global chief executives who act as corporate champions for the UN Women’s global solidarity movement for gender equality, HeforShe.

ReConnect – bringing skilled people back into the workforce

Worldwide, there are an estimated 55 million women with valuable management experience who are not in work following a career break. This is a lost opportunity for women and for the global economy. Research from KPMG highlighted that if all these women were to re-enter the workplace without displacing others, the associated value of the additional economic activity generated globally could be around €151 billion2.

Reducing gender bias in our recruitment ads

During the year we piloted a new approach that aims to reduce the potential for gender bias in our job adverts. Adjusting the vocabulary used in our advertisements in a three-month trial has helped us to increase the number of women who we’ve recruited into specific roles by 7%. This specialist technology is now used to avoid gender bias in an average of 840 Vodafone job adverts a month globally.

Celebrating International Women’s Day

We want to raise the profile of female role models and celebrate women’s achievements with visible support from our senior leaders. One way we do this is by running a week-long campaign to coincide with International Women’s Day.

More than 3,600 employees watched a global webinar on 8 March 2018, which was personally endorsed by our Group Chief Executive. This was just one event in a week-long global programme, which included over 60 events such as roundtable discussions, networking events, training, and role-modelling and mentoring sessions.

Our contribution to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals

Our approach is contributing to SDG 5

SDG 5: Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls

We are also impacting SDGs 4 and 8

SDG 4: Ensure inclusive and equitable quality education and promote lifelong learning opportunities for all

SDG 8: Promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all

Find out more about our contribution to the UN SDGs
SDG 4: Quality education SDG 5: Gender equality SDG 8: Decent work and economic growth SDG 9: Industry, innovation and infrastructure SDG 13: Climate action

We believe we can have the greatest impact on five of the UN SDGs through our networks, products and services and through the work of the Vodafone Foundation.

Communications technology can play a critical role in empowering women to improve their lives and livelihoods. Through providing women with access to life-enhancing services, which help unlock socio-economic opportunities and championing the inclusion of women in the workplace, Vodafone is committed to SDG 5. Our approach also aligns to SDGs 4 and 8, as our mobile technologies also support improved education outcomes and drive financial inclusion.


  1. IMF working paper on gender diversity in senior positions, 2016
  2. KPMG research for Vodafone, 2017
  3. This includes women in senior leadership team, senior management and middle management