The brainchild behind the Jabil Joules initiative, Senior Vice President of Communications & Investor Relations Beth Walters shares how the Joules program is expanding into Asia. In Beth’s own words, read below to learn why this program is so personally important to her.
In April 2016, we finally launched Jabil Joules in China as an exciting platform for female empowerment that brings women together to help each other learn and grow. Since launching this initiative in 2013, we have connected with a number of extraordinary women and seen an increase in female managers and leaders.
Understanding the unique cultural issues
During my numerous trips to China, I’ve had the opportunity to speak with many of our female employees, in private and in focus groups. These conversations have helped me understand some of the barriers the women in our workforce are facing and how we can overcome them.
For example, many of the women I spoke to said they still handle the bulk of family care responsibilities for their children, parents and husband’s parents. Life in China and many South Asian countries’ bustling urban centers may have changed dramatically in recent decades, but in many countries men are largely still expected to be the main breadwinner.
Nonetheless, I believe that if we work together to encourage and empower women, we can break down barriers and help our female colleagues to fulfill their potential and build flourishing careers at Jabil.
Educate, Mentor, Connect
In each of the markets in which we operate, Jabil Joules face a unique set of challenges. But in every region, education is a key component of the initiative, especially in places where public debate about gender equality is not as well developed as it is in the US. By educating people about the benefits of diversity, we can break down harmful stereotypes and other barriers inhibiting women from achieving their potential.
Mentoring is also important because it brings new perspectives to the table. Due to cultural norms in many Asian countries, many women tend to stay in the background and are less inclined to step forward to take on greater responsibilities and challenges. Mentoring can help women build their self-confidence, see the bigger picture and understand how they can contribute.
Crucially, Jabil Joules gives women the opportunity to share their experiences and explore career possibilities with other women. Being able to connect around topics such as achieving greater work-life balance, time management and parenting skills inspires women and helps them make more informed choices about how to advance their careers.
Women across Jabil’s Asia network are already stirring up positive energy in our plants. I’m inspired by the enthusiasm many sites have shown in supporting Jabil Joules initiatives and launch events, such as the first Jabil Joules launch gathering event at Huangpu site on International Women’s Day, March 8th.
And this is just the beginning. There is so much more we can do at Jabil to empower our female colleagues to take on greater responsibility and play a bigger role in growing the business.
Diversity is powerful and via Jabil Joules, we are encouraging all Jabil employees to do their part to build a strong culture of inclusion and embrace diversity at all levels of our business.