Lazada has made a commitment to boost economic opportunities and gender equality for women in emerging markets in Asia Pacific.
According to the Alibaba-owned e-commerce platform, it has become a founding member, together with 17 other companies, of the International Finance Corporation (IFC)-led Digital2Equal initiative, which is supported by the World Bank Group.
The 17 other companies include Uber, Didi Chuxing, Airbnb, Salesforce, PayPal, Linkedln, Google and Facebook.
“Lazada has been operating in South East Asia since 2012 and intimately involved in the region’s growth. It is a uniquely diverse region with different spoken languages, cultures, and state of development with varying degrees of challenges for women,” said Lucy Peng, Lazada chairwoman and group chief executive.
“Lazada has always been supporting the female community in Southeast Asia, from providing selling opportunities on our platform to hiring women riders among our courier fleet. We strongly believe that when women are empowered, they can bring positive change and shape the future of all those around them, from their families to society at large.”
Presently, Lazada claims that four in 10 entry-level employees in the company are female, even at the senior management level. It also said that it has made ‘concerted efforts’ to support women’s career advancement and ensure equal development opportunities in the workplace, through initiatives such as women roundtable, networking and mentoring programmes sponsored by senior leaders in the company.
New programmes that Lazada is embarking on includes a Mompreneurs Programme in the Philippines, which allos stay-at-home mothers with the opportunity to earn a living by running online store while juggling family responsibilities.
Free training and assistance are provided to these sellers to help them set up shop, and Lazada does not charge commission for selling on its platform, helping sellers keep costs low. A small working capital loan is also offered to top sellers to give them a boost in inventory management.
There is also a Ladies First Programme, which aims to narrow the digital divide and encourage more women to use digital platforms. Under the programme, Lazada will support and grow a group of female role models, comprising Instagrammers and influencers with a large following in the fashion, and mother and baby categories. The objective is to foster a community of women for women, across the six countries in South East Asia that Lazada operates in.
Lazada will also collaborate with non-government organizations (NGOs) to design training and outreach programmes targeted at underprivileged women.