Diageo, Norwalk, Conn., announced a $10 million strategy to empower 2 million women in 17 countries in Asia Pacific by 2017. “Plan W: Empowering Women through Learning” aims to reach women of all socio-economic profiles through training and skills development.

The company’s goal is to empower these women to play an even greater role in the success of the business. The plan aims to empower women by strengthening its own diversity policies and practices; increasing women’s employability by delivering skills training in the hospitality sector; training women in marginalized communities to better their prospects and establishing programs to support social entrepreneurs; and raising awareness among consumers through campaigns led by Diageo brands.

“Being a partner for good is a big part of our values and history as a company,” said Gilbert Ghostine, president of Diageo Asia Pacific, in a statement. “We are very proud to launch Plan W to support women and the development of communities all around Asia Pacific. As we progress with this major initiative across Asia Pacific, we will look for more strategic partners who are equally committed to supporting this cause to enrich the lives of women and empower them through learning.”

Diageo will work closely with partners such as CARE International, an organization dedicated to fighting poverty and injustice in 87 countries, to implement programs, several of which are already under way. Other key partners include The British Council, which operates large-scale programs to promote social enterprise development across Asia.

“Recognizing that women and girls suffer disproportionately from poverty, CARE places special emphasis on empowering them to create permanent social change,” said Tim Bishop, CARE’s private sector specialist for Asia Pacific, in a statement. “Empowering women can create a ripple effect that has the potential to impact families, communities, villages and even nations. It is our hope that Diageo’s support of CARE’s programs and commitment toward women empowerment in Asia Pacific will serve as inspiration for other large corporations in the region to become involved.”

Diageo currently has several programs underway throughout Asia Pacific and is planning to deliver additional ones in new markets to reach more women. The following are those programs:
•    sponsoring community projects in Nepal and Sri Lanka;
•    delivering more programs in Myanmar, Cambodia and India;
•    Arthur Guinness Fund social enterprise programs in Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore;
•    upscaling its programs in China, Vietnam and Thailand;
•    supporting vocational training courses for hospitality in Vietnam;
•    delivering hospitality training in the priority markets of China, South Korea and Thailand; and
•    offering diversity workshops for Diageo leadership teams and employees in Singapore and across the region.