Unilever CEO Paul Polman: Gender Equality Can Transform Our Economy

"If you invest in women, then you often get a higher return."

Unilever CEO Paul Polman recognizes the importance of empowering women.

In a candid discussion with his son Sebastian for The Huffington Post's parent-child interview series Talk To Me, the Dutch entrepreneur shared his thoughts on gender equality.

"In this world, not everyone has the same opportunities – the right to education, the right to a job, the right to food," he said. "And one of the biggest possibilities that we have globally is to give equal rights to men and women. If we would just invest not more, but the same in women and girls as we invest in men, the global economy could be bigger by about 28 trillion in the next 15-20 years alone."

Polman discussed the ways Unilever works to remain a "gender-balanced" company that provides equal opportunities to women. 

"If you invest in women, then you often get a higher return," he declared.

Polman also spoke bluntly about the importance of corporate social responsibility. "The role of business should be to make a positive contribution to society. Otherwise why would it be there? Why would people allow it to be there?" he said. "So if anybody in business can't explain what they do to help others or make a positive contribution, they should really ask themselves why they are there in the first place." 

Watch the full video above for Polman's reflections on entrepreneurship, overcoming failure, battling climate change, and even his first job as a milkman in the Netherlands.

When you're done, don't miss this ridiculously cute video of kids interviewing their parents at Unilever's offices on Take Your Child To Work Day.

Join Oprah Winfrey, Richard Branson, Melinda Gates and hundreds more by making your own #TalkToMe video with your parent or child. We'd love to feature it on HuffPost! All the info + suggested questions are right here.

testPromoTitleReplace testPromoDekReplace Join HuffPost Today! No thanks.