Millions of women around the world struggle to gain access to education and job opportunities. These barriers keep women out of the workforce and dependent on others.
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Inequality is one of the biggest threats our world faces. Urgent action is needed to accelerate inclusion in our societies, improving livelihoods and ultimately health and wellbeing outcomes for all.
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Even before Covid-19 disrupted lives, inequalities existed across the world. The pandemic exacerbated these inequalities, highlighting racial iniquities and bringing gender inequality into focus as more women carried the responsibilities of caring for children and home-schooling.
And with 3.4 billion people using our products every day, it’s vital we also harness the power of our brands to help bring about a more inclusive and representative society for all people, no matter their gender, what they look like, who they love, or what their bodies can or can’t do.
Tackling issues like this is at the heart of , our vision and strategy that champions a new era of beauty for our Beauty & Wellbeing and Personal Care brands, which are crucial to delivering our new goal on health and wellbeing.
Take action through our brands to improve health and wellbeing and advance equity and inclusion, reaching 1 billion people per year by 2030.We will focus on: gender equity; race and ethnicity equity; body confidence and self-esteem; mental wellbeing; hand hygiene; sanitation; oral health; skin health and healing.
Whether it’s Sunsilk encouraging girls to think big, Dove Men+Care challenging stereotypes around dads, Degree’s new deodorant for easy use by people with disabilities or Vaseline championing better skincare for people of colour, more of our brands are taking a lead in promoting a more inclusive society.
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Women's equality is the single greatest unlock for social and economic development globally.Alan Jope, former Unilever CEO
Our Sunsilk brand campaigns to help girls gain the vision, support, skills and confidence needed to go beyond social limitations. So in partnership with the global NGO,, Sunsilk developed the educational programme. This encourages girls to imagine a new way forward through education materials aimed at inspiring them in the classroom. It’s reached more than 56,000 young people from underserved communities in six countries. It’s just one of our purpose-led brands which are finding impactful ways to empower women.
In Indonesia, Sunlight is partnering with UN Women to improve equal learning opportunities for women who want to start or grow their business.
Every day, women not only face judgements about how they should live and behave, but also face casual sexism, from catcalls to inappropriate comments. This leads them to ‘self-edit’ their beauty and how they express their femininity.
#ShowUs is changing the way media and advertising represent women.
Support for dads
<50% Of countries have a parental leave policy for fathers
Parental leave gives dads the chance to care for the people who matter most, at a time when support is often needed. The benefits are countless – for dads, for partners and for children. But restrictive stereotypes and a lack of access to paid parental leave prevent many men from taking this important time away from work. In the US, for example, less than one in five men are offered any paid parental leave, and most dads who do have it don’t believe they can take their full time off to care for their families.
Dove Men+Care wants to change this pattern, so the brand is working with partnerships such as theto champion parental leave and higher uptake for fathers.
Through these partnerships, research and advocacy,, developing useful resources for dads and helping shape better policies and workplace culture in this area.
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We’re celebrating and empowering people of colour and working to help promote racial equity. For example, our Sundial Brands are dedicated to inclusive beauty, serving the unmet needs of people of colour in the US.
When Unilever acquired Sundial Brands in 2017, the New Voices Fund was created and initiated with funding from Unilever and the founder of Sundial, Richelieu Dennis. The Fund invests in entrepreneurs of colour and has led to the creation of 18 millionaires, defined by New Voices as the fair market value of ownership interests in their businesses. Thea non-profit organisation started by the Dennis family, offers entrepreneurs grants and support (such as coaching and mentoring) and has helped 26,000 entrepreneurs of colour.
In the US, systemic inequality has led to a stark difference between the incomes and assets of white and black households, creating an $11 trillion racial wealth gap. It’s something that one of our Sundial brands,, is keen to tackle by reinvesting at least $1 million each year in small, black-owned businesses as part of the .
Through the Community Commerce model created by Sundial’s founder Richelieu Dennis, every SheaMoisture purchase helps invest in the dreams of black entrepreneurs, which in turn provides opportunities for other up-and-coming entrepreneurs in the beauty industry.
So far, SheaMoisture has reinvested $10 million back into the community it serves.
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SheaMoisture is stepping up its commitment with a new fund to help create black millionaires. Itsoffers three black business owners who are ready to scale up the chance to grow their businesses and become millionaires.
Alongside $100,000 in funding, the winners have the opportunity to collaborate with SheaMoisture, and will receive retail distribution support. The New Voices Foundation will provide them with educational sessions, mentorship, coaching and networking opportunities. The winners’ stories will be recorded in a streaming docuseries, so others can learn from them as they progress.
The Next Black Millionaire Fund winners were announced in July 2022: Atlanta-based sauce brand, Miami-based haircare brand , and the Los Angeles-based beauty brand .
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Narrow beauty standards make it difficult for women to freely celebrate their own beauty. While many women experience pressure to conform to certain standards of appearance, black women are disproportionately impacted by the Eurocentric standards that so often define what is beautiful.
Society’s bias has resulted in unfair judgement and discrimination against black women based on hair texture and protective hairstyles including braids, locs and twists that are inherent to their race.
In the US, the law in many states does not currently afford protection from race-based hair discrimination, even if the hairstyle is inherent to racial identity. That means black women can be denied opportunities for employment or professional advancement without consequence. And it means black children can be denied entry to school or educational opportunities because of their natural hair.
That’s why, in 2019, Dove co-founded the CROWN Coalition in partnership with the National Urban League, Color Of Change, and Western Center on Law and Poverty to advance anti-hair discrimination legislation called
The Crown Act
The CROWN Act stands for Creating a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair. It's a law that prohibits discrimination based on hair texture and hairstyle.
Our mission is to advance efforts to end hair discrimination and to create a more equitable and inclusive beauty experience for black women and girls. In 2020, the CROWN Act became law in seven US states and the House of Representatives passed the bill at the federal level.
We’re now expanding this campaign across the world. The, for instance, helps eliminate barriers to progress for black women and girls. And the Dove Self-Esteem Project has developed a workshop with educators and experts to support teachers in discussions about hair discrimination. Dove has become the first brand to support the , led by The Advocacy Academy, to champion the Halo Code within the workplace and help to end hair discrimination for good.
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Our skin is the barrier between our bodies and the outside world, and the health of our skin is essential to our overall wellbeing. In tough circumstances, skin problems are common and can cause great discomfort, sometimes worsening to life-changing conditions if not addressed. For the last 150 years, Vaseline® has been committed to helping heal skin everywhere. But this goal can’t be achieved if part of the Vaseline® community doesn’t have access to equal care.
explains how Vaseline is on the frontline when disaster strikes, helping some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
In the US, nearly half of dermatologists say they were not adequately trained to treat skin of colour. We’ve made it our mission to bring equity in skincare for black and brown skin.
Through our partnerships withand , we’re working to train dermatologists and medical practitioners to better treat, diagnose and care for skin of colour. In partnership with Hued, we’ve introduced a which allows people to and those experienced in treating black and brown skin. Hued’s online platform also offers educational resources that provide expert recommendations.
We’ve partnered with actress, director and advocate Regina King on this, highlighting inequities in healthcare, which has led to the disproportionate impact that Covid-19 has had on black and Latinx communities.
Since 2015, Vaseline has also worked with Direct Relief to support a network of health centres and clinics that provide affordable, comprehensive and culturally competent services to those who need it most through the. This provides dermatological care, Vaseline Jelly and the medical supplies needed to help heal the skin of people affected by poverty or emergencies around the world. As part of our we helped to heal the skin of over 6 million people.
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More than 1 billion people – 15% of the world’s population – live with a disability and that number is rising. In our business, we’re creating . Our brands are taking action too, making sure that diversity and representation are part of their values.
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Everyone should have the right, access and confidence to move more. Yet that opportunity is not distributed equally. People lack access to movement because of barriers such as cultural expectations and discrimination based on gender, sexuality, race or ability, while others simply don’t have access to the spaces and places to move freely. Our deodorant brand Rexona – also known as Degree, Sure or Shield in different countries – is setting out to change that through its #MoveYourWay campaign.
#Move your way
In the UK, Rexona is partnering with One City Disability, an award-winning programme of football activities run by City in the Community.
One City Disability’s aim is to ensure that every person who joins the programme is able to participate and develop football skills regardless of their disability or impairment. For Rexona, this also means and representing movement in diverse, equitable and inclusive ways.
In Indonesia, Rexona’s campaign(Move Beyond Boundaries) includes an app to register the step count of people from all over Indonesia and convert them into donations towards mobility aids for disabled societies and clubs.
Rexona’s Breaking Limits programme was launched on the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace in 2021, a day that celebrates the power of sport to drive social change and community development.
Partnering with non-profit organisations, Breaking Limits sets out to use sport and physical activity to give young people the confidence to overcome barriers and achieve more.
The programme builds on research by Rexona showing that about half of people worry about not being good enough, four in ten fear being judged, and almost half say they feel self-conscious when doing physical activity, especially when trying something new.
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We believe in equality for everyone, everywhere, no matter who they are or who they love. While we pride ourselves on being a diverse and tolerant business, we know that there is still much to be done to make the world more tolerant and inclusive.
Ben & Jerry’s, for instance, has long supported LGBTQ+and marriage equality. Back in 1989, Ben & Jerry's was the first major employer in Vermont to offer health insurance to domestic partners of employees, including same-sex couples. It didn't feel like a revolutionary gesture at the time, we just knew it was the right and fair thing to do.
Since then, Ben & Jerry’s has supported the movement in many ways. For example, in 2009 we celebrated gay marriage in Vermont by renaming our Chubby Hubby ice cream as Hubby Hubby. And in 2015, we marked the US Supreme Court's momentous decision on marriage equality, renaming our Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough flavour I Dough, I Dough for the summer.
When it comes to transgender rights, however, the situation is less positive. Hate crimes are on the rise at an alarming rate and we’reof violence against transgender people. Ben & Jerry’s supports the International Trans Day of Visibility and lobbied for the Equality Act to strengthen human rights for trans people.
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Over the 50 years that our Closeup toothpaste brand has stood for closeness, we’ve learned that love happens in more ways than one. Even though the world has made strides in embracing diversity, to follow one’s heart and be with someone regardless of differences in race, gender, religion, class, or identity, is often easier said than done. Closeup pledges to champion love of all kinds. Not just in words but through tangible support.
As our reveals, although most young people yearn for a world where everyone can be free to love the person they are attracted to, fewer than three in five believe they have the freedom of attraction.
And it’s not hard to see why: relationships can face prejudice as society passes judgement on couples whose pairing falls outside of what it defines as conventional and appropriate. Such couples are more likely to face unfavourable attitudes, feel less accepted and experience dismissive or demeaning treatment. Our research shows that 46% are afraid of discrimination, judgement or public shame, while 39% fear being expelled from or disowned by their family or society.
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In 2021, we piloted– a relationship advice portal for diverse kinds of couples to access content such as expert advice, true stories and factoids, and featuring on-the-ground NGO partners
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In 2022, we launched the, which recognises that while many are still denied the right to marry the person they love, in the metaverse anything is possible.
It’s afor couples in all kinds of relationships to express their love without fear or judgement. All couples are welcome to immortalise their union on the blockchain, mint an NFT certificate of marriage, and celebrate with invited guests.