Paying attention to gender equality - Brazil’s Reynaldo Goto

Chief Compliance Officer, BRF SA

One of a series of profiles on business executives leading gender equality efforts in the workplace

For Reynaldo Goto, championing gender equality means embedding the goal in the professional and personal conversations he has all day long.

On the job, the chief compliance officer at Brazil-based BRF SA is vigilant about making sure no one goes unheard in meetings. At home, he said, he’s realized the importance of equitably sharing domestic chores and child care.

“When you start to pay attention, you really see the difference, and you really see inequality, but more importantly, you see how men could play an important role,” Goto told the UN Global Compact in a recent interview.

At BRF, one of the largest food companies in the world with more than 100,000 employees, Goto’s responsibility is compliance, implementing and enforcing practices to prevent bribery and corruption and promoting transparency and integrity. He helps make sure the giant multinational meets its environmental, social and governance goals and toes the line on the standards and guidelines required by international capital markets.

He has been closely involved with the United Nations Global Compact for several years, coordinating the Global Compact local network’s anti-corruption task force from 2015 to 2018. He joined BRF in 2018 after nearly 20 years working for German conglomerate Siemens AG.

With his help, Goto said the Brazilian food giant has made significant strides in sustainability, progress that he attributes to public awareness and pressure and to positive responses from capital markets to its decisions and practices.

BRF committed to the UN Global Compact Brazil’s campaign “Equity is Priority” to increase the number of women in top management, he said. His company has set a goal to boost the percentage of women in leadership positions to 30% from 22% by 2025.

In the workplace, Goto, 46, says he aims to incorporate a gender equality agenda into day-to-day practices, like making sure that all voices are heard during meetings and that hiring and promotions are bias-free.

BRF has implemented initiatives to train and mentor female leadership, and Goto said he uses his mentoring role to promote a gender equality agenda among younger workers. He said he often finds women with less self-confidence than men and men who are more aggressive and unaware of their privilege.

“Educating employees is key,” he said. “That’s a journey we will continue to learn.”

He also said he tends to vote more often for female political candidates and keeps an eye out for bias among male candidates.

A big influence that helped him learn the importance of men’s role in the gender equality agenda, he said, was hearing a TED Talk by Michael Kimmel, a U.S. author and expert on men and masculinity. (youtube.com/watch?v=7n9IOH0NvyY)

As a father of two children, Goto added that he need only look to his family to realize the importance of reaching gender equality.

“I really think if I don’t do anything at this moment, my son will have more advantages or more possibilities compared to my daughter, and that’s basically unfair, that’s wrong, just because of gender,” he said.

“That’s why I started to pay attention.”

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