The Pandemic Has Set Progress for Gender Equality Back by 25 Years

The pandemic has set progress for gender equality back by 25 years, shows a research of Mars, Inc, one of the largest food producers in the world. The company concludes that COVID-19 has been particularly devasting for women in minority groups. Even before the coronavirus crisis, the United Nations estimated it would take more than a century to close the gender opportunity gap. Currently, women make up 51 percent of the world’s population and contribute $28 trillion to the global GDP, but gender inequality is still considered one of the most serious global problems.

As an international company, Mars, Inc. is strongly focused on dealing with this challenge and contributing to creating a more inclusive business environment. An illustrative example for its commitment to gender equality is the fact that in the UBBAI region, which Bulgaria is part of along with 14 other markets, women make up more than 46% of employees, while in the leadership team as many as 75% are women.

Mars, Inc. has recently launched #HereToBeHeard, a new global campaign, aiming to advance action on gender equality. The initiative is part of the company’s Full Potential platform for gender equity in its workplaces, sourcing communities, and the marketplace. Within #HereToBeHeard women everywhere are asked “What needs to change so more women can reach their full potential?”. By the end of March, they can share their opinion on, as recording their voices or write a short text. All submissions will be analyzed by the Oxford Future of Marketing Initiative (FOMI) at Oxford University’s Saïd Business School. The results will be shared with the world in a study by Oxford this summer and will inform the action plans of Mars’ Full Potential platform, including policies the company can implement and advocate for in its commitment to unlock opportunities for women.

On a global level, Mars, Inc. has some illustrative examples of women who have managed to unlock their potential and reach high levels of the corporate hierarchy. They and the men from the company who support them share their views on gender equality:

“In order to reach our full potential, it is important to be supported – by our partners, by our families and friends and even most of all – by our employers. Sometimes it’s a matter of luck and life circumstances, but I will still dare to give a piece of advice – ladies, choose wisely!”, said Vanja Vagic, Corporate Affairs Manage at Mars Multisales UBBAI.

“Women can reach their full potential in а work environment that nurtures equality, without discrimination, prejudice and stereotypes. That is why at Mars, we strive to create an open and inclusive world, led by creativity, knowledge, and diversity”, commented Zorana Novakovic, P&O Director at Mars UBBAI.

“Gender equality and respect for everybody are incorporated in the corporate culture of our company, which makes me feel proud. I work surrounded with many amazing women who are absolutely inspiring personalities and great professionals, I feel privileged to work and learn from them. Ladies, stay unique, believe in yourselves and continue to pursue your dreams and ambitions. Thank you for your support and dedication“, said Predrag Milincic, Market Director Mars Balkans.

#HereToBeHeard is a global campaign from Mars, Incorporated which drives change on gender inequality, in support of Goal Five of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. It is part of Full Potential, Mars’ platform for action on gender which aims to empower women and close the gender gap in the places we work, the communities where we source our ingredients and in the way we create our advertising. For more information on the Full Potential platform and the #HereToBeHeard survey, visit and

For more than a century, Mars, Incorporated has been driven by the belief that the world we want tomorrow starts with how we do business today. This idea is at the center of who we have always been as a global, family-owned business. Today, Mars is transforming, innovating and evolving in ways that affirm our commitment to making a positive impact on the world around us

Across our diverse and expanding portfolio of confectionery, food, and petcare products and services, we employ 133,000 dedicated Associates who are all moving in the same direction: forward. With $40 billion in annual sales, we produce some of the world’s best-loved brands including DOVE®, EXTRA®, M&M’s®, MILKY WAY®, SNICKERS®, TWIX®, ORBIT®, PEDIGREE®, ROYAL CANIN®, SKITTLES®, BEN’S ORIGINAL™, WHISKAS®, COCOAVIA®, and 5™; and take care of half of the world’s pets through our pet health services AniCura, Banfield Pet Hospitals™, BluePearl®, Linnaeus, Pet Partners™, and VCA™.

We know we can only be truly successful if our partners and the communities in which we operate prosper as well. The Mars Five Principles – Quality, Responsibility, Mutuality, Efficiency and Freedom – inspire our Associates to take action every day to help create a world tomorrow in which the planet, its people and pets can thrive.