EMPOWERING WOMEN to participate fully in economic life across all sectors and throughout all levels of economic activity is essential to:
- Build strong economies;
- Establish more stable and just societies;
- Achieve internationally agreed goals for development, sustainability and human rights;
- Improve quality of life for women, men, families and communities; and
- Propel businesses’ operations and goals.
Yet, ensuring the inclusion of women’s talents, skills, experience and energies requires intentional actions and deliberate policies. The Women’s Empowerment Principles provide a set of considerations to help the private sector focus on key elements integral to promoting gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and community. Enhancing openness and inclusion throughout corporate policies and operations requires techniques, tools and practices that bring results.
1 Leadership Promotes Gender Equality
- Affirm high-level support and direct top-level policies for gender equality and human rights.Establish company-wide goals and targets for gender equality and include progress as a factor in managers’ performance reviews.Engage internal and external stakeholders in the development of company policies, programmes and implementation plans that advance equality.Ensure that all policies are gender-sensitive - identifying factors that impact women and men differently - and that corporate culture advances equality and inclusion.
2 Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Nondiscrimination
- Pay equal remuneration, including benefits, for work of equal value and strive to pay a living wage to all women and men.Ensure that workplace policies and practices are free from gender-based discrimination.Implement gender-sensitive recruitment and retention practices and proactively recruit and appoint women to managerial and executive positions and to the corporate board of directors.Assure sufficient participation of women - 30% or greater in decision-making and governance at all levels and across all business areas.Offer flexible work options, leave and re-entry opportunities to positions of equal pay and status.Support access to child and dependent care by providing services, resources and information to both women and men.
3 Health, Safety and Freedom from Violence
Taking into account differential impacts on women and men, provide safe working conditions and protection from exposure to hazardous materials and disclose potential risks, including to reproductive health.Establish a zero-tolerance policy towards all forms of violence at work, including verbal and/or physical abuse and prevent sexual harassment.Strive to offer health insurance or other needed services — including for survivors of domestic violence — and ensure equal access for all employees.Respect women and men workers’ rights to time off for medical care and counseling for themselves and their dependents.
In consultation with employees, identify and address security issues, including the safety of women traveling to and from work and on company-related business.Train security staff and managers to recognize signs of violence against women and understand laws and company policies on human trafficking, labour and sexual exploitation.
4 Education and Training
- Invest in workplace policies and programmes that open avenues for advancement of women at all levels and across all business areas, and encourage women to enter nontraditional job fields.Ensure equal access to all company-supported education and training programmes, including literacy classes, vocational and information technology training.Provide equal opportunities for formal and informal networking and mentoring.Offer opportunities to promote the business case for women’s empowerment and the positive impact of inclusion for men as well as women.
- Enterprise Development, Supply Chain and Marketing Practices
- Expand business relationships with women-owned enterprises, including small businesses, and women entrepreneurs.
- Support gender-sensitive solutions to credit and lending barriers.
- Ask business partners and peers to respect the company’s commitment to advancing equality and inclusion.
- Respect the dignity of women in all marketing and other company materials.
Ensure that company products, services and facilities are not used for human trafficking and! or labour or sexual exploitation.
6. Community Leadership and Engagement
- Lead by example showcase company commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment.
- Leverage influence, alone or in partnership, to advocate for gender equality and collaborate with business partners, suppliers and community leaders to promote inclusion.Work with community stakeholders, officials and others to eliminate discrimination and exploitation and open opportunities for women and girls.Promote and recognize women’s leadership in, and contributions to, their communities and ensure sufficient representation of women in any community consultation.Use philanthropy and grants programmes to support company commitment to inclusion, equality and human rights.
7 Transparency, Measuring and Reporting
- Make public the company policies and implementation plan for promoting gender equality.
- Establish benchmarks that quantify inclusion of women at all levels.
- Measure and report on progress, both internally and externally, using data disaggregated by sex.
- Incorporate gender markers into ongoing reporting obligations.