Shiseido marks International Women’s Day with Empower Her spotlight

By Kristiane Sherry |

Shiseido Travel Retail’s Empower Her initiative is providing nail technician training, among other skills

Global beauty business Shiseido Travel Retail is showcasing its Empower Her gender equity initiative, run in collaboration with social enterprise Friends-International, to celebrate International Women’s Day on 8 March.

Empower Her and Friends-International offer tailored education, training and support services to almost 300 women and girls across Cambodia, Indonesia and Thailand.

Friends-International was founded in 1994 with a partnership model based on ‘Together, Building Futures’ to offer vocational training, access to employment, and microbusiness start-up assistance. Empower Her was first launched in 2020.

The initiative is supported by Shiseido’s corporate mission ‘Beauty Innovations For a Better World’, and forms part of its sustainability strategy by Advancing Gender Equality.

Women and girls in Cambodia are accessing Friends-International’s vocational training and creativity programme FRIENDS FUTURES FACTORY (F3), which focuses on beauty, hospitality and customer service skills. It is designed to prepare participants for careers in the cosmetology and tourism industries. 

Shiseido Travel Retail provides support through funding and the donation of beauty products. The company will now develop resources to further upskill trainers.

F3 has secured employment for more than 100 women, and set up a sustainable beauty salon business. 

Shiseido Travel Retail’s Camellia Day

In addition to supporting Friends-International, Shiseido Travel Retail holds Camellia Day each year to educate its employees and partners on its partnership with Friends-International and other non-government and non-profit organisations. 

Activities include a 2021 Virtual Ideathon to concept creative solutions for key issues, and a fundraising walkathon in 2022. An employee donation-matching programme, and a holiday season donation scheme has raised funds for social impact projects across Southeast Asia. 

Empower Her and Friends-International provides training for women and girls looking to enter the beauty and tourism industries

“As we mark International Women’s Day, it gives me great pride to acknowledge the social impact that the ‘Empower Her’ program has had on hundreds of lives in Cambodia,” said Philippe Lesné, President & CEO, Shiseido Travel Retail.

“In harnessing the power of beauty, we have been able to promote equity by providing sustainable support to help marginalised women and girls thrive – and the initial results have been heartening. 

“We look forward to expanding the ‘Empower Her’ scheme in new ways in close collaboration with our employees and charity partners as we seek to advance a society that embraces diversity and supports lives of beauty.”

Sébastien Marot, Founder & Executive Director, Friends-International, added: “At Friends-International, our mission is to save the lives and build the futures of the most marginalised children in the world. Our social programs and projects, such as the FRIENDS FUTURES FACTORY, have brightened the communities of the youth and women involved by empowering them to become independent and integrated into society – as part of our longstanding commitment to foster equity. 

“This important work is made possible due to the generous donations from companies such as Shiseido Travel Retail, and we thank the team for their support.”

Last month, Shiseido Travel Retail and China Duty Free Group partnered to launch Clé de Peau Beauté’s #FasterRenewal concept in Sanya International Duty Free Shopping Complex, Hainan.

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