Leadership News Briefs

Mary Kay Inc. Advocates for Gender Equality Through Milestone Commitments & Partnerships

Mary Kay Inc. recently released a position paper welcoming the European Commission’s Gender Equality Strategy for 2020 – 2025. The company has also joined the Generation Equality Forum Global Action Coalitions. Mary Kay Inc. is a global advocate for women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship. By taking these actions, the company has furthered its commitment to advancing gender parity.

A more perfect union

The position paper echoes the strategy of the European Union on gender equality. According to the European Union: “The Strategy presents policy objectives and actions to make significant progress by 2025 towards a gender-equal Europe. The goal is a Union where women and men, girls and boys, in all their diversity, are free to pursue their chosen path in life, have equal opportunities to thrive and can equally participate in and lead our European society.”

“Discriminatory laws, gender bias and stereotyping, violence against women and girls – these are all global issues. They must be tackled in partnership with the public and private sectors and civil society organizations across the world,” said Julia Simon, Chief Legal & Diversity Officer at Mary Kay. “Achieving gender equality is critical to the survival of the planet and the rebuilding of more sustainable and thriving economies and societies.”

A critical moment

Mary Kay also joined the “Drivers of Change” Program at the 2021 Generation Equality Forum in Paris, France. UN Women convened the Forum and co-hosted it with the governments of Mexico and France. The Generation Equality Forum took place 26 years after the Beijing Declaration. The Forum was the “most critical moment in a generation to invest in gender equality and accelerate momentum for women’s safety, leadership and economic opportunity.”

Julia Simon participated in a panel titled “Building a Transformative Strategy for Gender-Responsive Procurement”. This panel aims to create awareness of the disproportionately complex and interconnected barriers on women’s entrepreneurship and promoting gender-responsive procurement. Globally, 1 in 3 businesses are owned by women. Even so, women win only 1 percent of the procurement spend of governments and large corporations. Speakers shared insights and concrete advice substantiated by their own journey on how to implement a GRP strategy.

At the Paris Forum, Mary Kay also joined four of the Generation Equality Action Coalitions through policy, programmatic and advocacy commitments: Economic Justice and Rights; Feminist Action for Climate Justice; Gender-based Violence and Innovation and Technology. 50,000 people virtually engaged in the Forum, which gathered 1,000 commitment-makers. It also recorded $40 billion of investments for gender equality. The investments will support a five-year plan to act for equal across six areas of action.

These engagements are the latest of a series of Mary Kay’s advocacy efforts in support of women’s economic empowerment and gender equality at high level meetings worldwide alongside its UN partners and local strategic partners.

Mary Kay’s advocacy efforts

Global empowerment

  • On March 16, 2021, Deborah Gibbins, Mary Kay’s COO, joined the UN Global Compact Target Gender Equality meeting. Gibbins discussed how Mary Kay empowers women entrepreneurs in nearly 40 countries. Gibbins highlighted data freshly released by the World Bank1. The data revealed that, on average across the world, women have three quarters the legal rights of men. She challenged companies to take a stand against legal discriminations and advocate for reforms to close the gaps. Doing so will allow women to achieve their full potential. The event brought together over 5,000 people from the business sector, the United Nations, member states and civil society organizations from over 100 countries. Seventy-five percent of the participants represented the private sector.

Accelerating change

A powerful sisterhood

  • On March 26-April 4, Edita Szabóová, General Manager of Mary Kay Czech Republic and Slovakia, shared remarks at the Equal Pay Day Conference. She stressed the importance of “women supporting women”. She also highlighted the work of Mary Kay in nurturing women entrepreneurs through training, leadership and mentorship. “When women come together, we can achieve extraordinary things for the benefit of women and humanity at large. Because we know that if we lift one, we lift all. At its core, Mary Kay develops and trains entrepreneurs, who, in turn, get to build their own businesses and write their own stories and legacy for their daughters,” said Szabóová.

Post-COVID economic recovery

  • On June 15-16, at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit, Gibbins spoke at the “Women In Sustainability: Innovating In A Man’s World” main stage session. She advocated for women entrepreneurs as the role models needed for the economy and society. She also emphasized the critical mission of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator. The Accelerator has committed to educating and empowering 5 million women entrepreneurs over the next 10 years. “Women entrepreneurship will play a key role in the successful pandemic recovery. This is why the mission of the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator is so timely. And, this is why women entrepreneurs need a framework of this magnitude,” said Gibbins. The annual Summit convened virtually more than 25,000 leaders from business, government, the UN and civil society. Participants took stock of the state of progress and drove collective action towards alleviating our current crises.

Seizing the moment

  • On July 6, in Ekaterinburg, Mary Kay joined the International Industrial Trade Fair INNOPROM-2021. This is the main industrial, trade and export platform in Russia. Kay was a guest speaker at a panel titled “UN Women Programs for the Promotion and Development of Gender-Based Entrepreneurship”. During the panel, she highlighted the critical importance of gender-responsive procurement strategies. She also emphasized that the pandemic brings a unique opportunity to advance action and to support women’s businesses.

About Mary Kay

One of the original glass ceiling breakers, Mary Kay Ash founded her beauty company with three goals: develop rewarding opportunities for women, offer irresistible products and make the world a better place. That dream has blossomed into a multibillion-dollar company with millions of independent sales force members in nearly 40 countries. Mary Kay is dedicated to investing in the science behind beauty and manufacturing cutting-edge skin care, color cosmetics, nutritional supplements and fragrances. She is also committed to empowering women and their families by partnering with organizations from around the world to support cancer research, protect survivors from domestic abuse, beautify our communities and encourage children to follow their dreams. Mary Kay Ash’s original vision continues to shine—one lipstick at a time. Learn more at

1Women, Business and the Law, 2021. A report conducted in 190 countries.

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