But other observers disagree. Olivier van Beemen, Dutch journalist and author of Heineken in Africa, claimed that Van Boxmeer's efforts to resolve the problem were cosmetic and a "ticking box exercise."

The book, published in 2018, quotes a promotion girl in Lagos called Peace, saying: “Every night I am touched against my will. It doesn't matter if I work in an expensive cafe or a popular bar.

A 2007 internal survey estimated that Heineken used 15 promotional girls worldwide in 000 countries where they were at risk.

The report describes a visit to Kinshasa, capital of the DRC: “PG [Promotion Women]… must offer 'love' or sexual services to Bralima [local Heineken brand] employees within the sales organization in order to retain their jobs… Sexual harassment of consumers is accepted as… normal. "

Heineken reduced the number of these girls and increased surveillance. It provides training and now employs more male promoters.

Heineken said these were "significant improvements," adding: "While we recognize that there is more to do, we are committed to playing a leadership role in making it happen."

In an interview with The Financial Times, a Dutch financial newspaper, published in November 2018, Mr Van Boxmeer commented on the uniforms that women wear: “Should they be walking around in a sack of potatoes instead of a nice dress? You can discuss it endlessly.

The allegations led the Bill Gates-backed Global Fund to drop Heineken as a partner in 2018.

Sue Ferns, Deputy General Secretary of Prospect, the union that represents Vodafone's workforce among its 141 members, said: “Sexual harassment is still sexual harassment all over the world, and Western companies and their leaders must not be allowed to operate in double standards on these issues.

"While I applaud the bold commitments to gender equality from companies like Vodafone, these promises will ring a bell for staff and customers if undermined by the feeling that there are few consequences. for those who allow cultures of sexual harassment to thrive.

Lucila Granada, Managing Director of Focus on Labor Exploitation, criticized the “normalization of sexual harassment”.

Vodafone wants women to occupy 40% of all leadership and management positions by 2030. Across the UK, only 6% of CEOs are women.


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