Principles of Women Empowerment

Principles of Women Empowerment


Principle 1: Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality:

ÂŒ  Leadership Promotes Gender Equality.

ÂŒ  Affirm high-level support and direct top-level policies for gender equality and human rights.

ÂŒ  Establish company-wide goals and targets for gender equality and include progress as a factor in managers’ performance reviews

ÂŒ  Engage internal and external stakeholders in the development of company policies, programmes and implementation plans that advance equality.

ÂŒ  Ensure that all policies are gender-sensitive – identifying factors that impact women and men differently – and that corporate culture advances equality and inclusion.

Company Examples:

ÂŒ  An international mining group headquartered in the UK, commissioned a resource guide on how to engage women and community groups as a major policy directive of its business operations.

ÂŒ  A company assessment at the highest level by a global accounting and consulting firm determined that the company was losing out on business by failing to attract and retain highly skilled female professionals, and on the basis of these findings, worked to change company culture and policies through leadership and board involvement.

ÂŒ  The leadership of an East Asian apparel manufacturer implemented an integrated, comprehensive approach to women’s empowerment through programmes recognizing female employees’ accomplishments and supporting women’s advancement in the company through wide-ranging education, training and safety initiatives.

Principle 2: Treat all women and men fairly at work - respect and support human rights and non-discrimination:

ÂŒ  Equal Opportunity, Inclusion and Non-discrimination.

ÂŒ  Pay equal remuneration, including benefits, for work of equal value and strive to pay a living wage to all women and men.

ÂŒ  Ensure that workplace policies and practices are free from gender-based discrimination.

ÂŒ  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.

ÂŒ  Assure sufficient participation of women – 30% or greater – in decision-making and governance at all levels and across all business areas.

ÂŒ  Offer flexible work options, leave and re-entry opportunities to positions of equal pay and status.

ÂŒ  Support access to child and dependent care by providing services, resources and information to both women and men.

Company Examples:

ÂŒ  To retain and attract more qualified women, an Eastern European microfinance group initiated a broad-based data collection and analysis exercise, followed up with recommendations on the treatment of its female employees.

ÂŒ  In an effort to close gender-based pay gaps, a global insurance group dedicated 1.25 million Euros over three years.

ÂŒ  A large financial services company in Australia offers a parental leave policy that provides a total of two years’ parental leave for the primary care giver, which can be taken flexibly, rather than on a full-time basis.

ÂŒ  To support diversity and inclusion, a multinational steel company established a special committee comprised of management and women workers that identifies concerns of female employees an in response organizes trainings and programmes.

Principle 3: Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers

ÂŒ  Health, Safety and Freedom from Violence.

ÂŒ  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.

ÂŒ  Establish a zero-tolerance policy towards all forms of violence at work, including verbal and/or physical abuse and prevent sexual harassment.

ÂŒ  Strive to offer health insurance or other needed services - including for survivors of domestic violence - and ensure equal access for all employees.

ÂŒ  Respect women and men workers’ rights to time off for medical care and counselling for themselves and their dependents.

ÂŒ  In consultation with employees, identify and address security issues, including the safety of women traveling to and from work on company-related business.

ÂŒ  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.

Company Examples:

ÂŒ  Building on a company-initiated study to determine the economic benefits to companies of employee health awareness, a large apparel company partners with health education professionals to offer trainings to employees on reproductive and maternal health, disease prevention and access to care.

ÂŒ  Recognizing the need to support working parents, a Kenyan communications company offers free on-site day care and an in-house physician, in addition to comprehensive medical coverage that includes pre- and post-natal care.

ÂŒ  Two Spanish companies offer victims of domestic violence job placement services specifically tailored to their needs to ease transition to the workplace.

ÂŒ  A Sri Lankan apparel manufacturer demonstrates its commitment to creating and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment - and recognition of the differential needs of its female and male employees - through a range of targeted policies and programmes, including special care for pregnant employees, and systematic risk assessments and monitoring of its plants, processes and equipment.

Principle 4: Promote education, training and professional development for women:

ÂŒ  Education and Training.

ÂŒ  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 non-traditional job fields.

ÂŒ  Ensure equal access to all company-supported education and training programmes, including literacy classes, vocational and information technology training.

ÂŒ  Provide equal opportunities for formal and informal networking and mentoring.

ÂŒ  Articulate the company's business case for women’s empowerment and the positive impact of inclusion for men as well as women.

Company Examples:

ÂŒ  To open opportunities for women’s career advancement in IT fields, a US-based multinational technology company maintains strategic partnerships with women’s organizations in many of the countries where it operates, to promote education and training and recognize women’s accomplishments in IT.

ÂŒ  A large European airline company reaches out to youth through education projects to break down the barriers that traditionally limit women to certain jobs in the industry and men to others.

ÂŒ  A large financial services company in Australia offers numerous initiatives aimed at supporting women in business, including an online platform to help Australian women connect with other women in business internationally to share information, research and career advice.

ÂŒ  A Chinese international transport company established special employee committees to identify and design programmes and information tailored to the distinct needs and interests of female workers.

Principle 5: Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women:

ÂŒ  Enterprise Development, Supply Chain and Marketing Practices.

ÂŒ  Expand business relationships with women-owned enterprises, including small businesses, and women entrepreneurs.

ÂŒ  Support gender-sensitive solutions to credit and lending barriers.

ÂŒ  Ask business partners and peers to respect the company’s commitment to advancing equality and inclusion.

ÂŒ  Respect the dignity of women in all marketing and other company materials.

ÂŒ  Ensure that company products, services and facilities are not used for human trafficking and/or labour or sexual exploitation.

Company Examples:

ÂŒ  Recognizing the expanding role of women entrepreneurs, a large UK-based bank launched specialized financial services, microfinance opportunities and business loans and also provides an online resource centre for women entrepreneurs running small and medium-sized enterprises.

ÂŒ  A Swedish manufacturer helps women producers of raw materials in developing countries to trade directly with the manufacturer, thus improving their income by reducing the number of intermediaries in the supply chain.

ÂŒ  To make the scope of violence against women visible to an international public, a global advertising company partnered with a UN organization to develop a public awareness campaign using television and the internet.

Principle 6: Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy:

ÂŒ  Community Leadership and Engagement.

ÂŒ  Lead by example – showcase company commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment.

ÂŒ  Leverage influence, alone or in partnership, to advocate for gender equality and collaborate with business partners, suppliers and community leaders to promote inclusion.

ÂŒ  Work with community stakeholders, officials and others to eliminate discrimination and exploitation and open opportunities for women and girls.

ÂŒ  Promote and recognize women’s leadership in, and contributions to, their communities and ensure sufficient representation of women in any community consultation.

ÂŒ  Use philanthropy and grants programmes to support company commitment to inclusion, equality and human rights.

Company Examples:

ÂŒ  A large international cosmetics company launched and sold products to raise funds for community-based organizations working to end domestic violence around the world.

ÂŒ  A multinational mining company with operations in Ghana implemented a gender mainstreaming programme to encourage female employees to assume greater responsibility within the mine and connect to the local community.

ÂŒ  A US-based multinational apparel manufacturer awards grants to community-based organizations to empower women in localities where it does business.

Principle 7: Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality

ÂŒ  Transparency, Measuring and Reporting.

ÂŒ  Make public the company policies and implementation plan for promoting gender equality

ÂŒ  Establish benchmarks that quantify inclusion of women at all levels.

ÂŒ  Measure and report on progress, both internally and externally, using data disaggregated by sex.

ÂŒ  Incorporate gender markers into ongoing reporting obligations.

Company Examples:

ÂŒ  A mid-sized Israeli fashion company became the first of its size in Israel to voluntarily publicize a Social and Environmental Responsibility Report reflecting its commitment to gender equality.

ÂŒ  A Spanish financial institution publicizes its commitment to equal opportunity and inclusion on its website and regularly undergoes external equality diagnostics validated by an autonomous government body.

ÂŒ  A South African mining company includes a detailed breakdown of employment by gender and race per occupational level in its sustainability reporting.

ÂŒ  Two Australian companies – one banking, one consulting – use the seven Women’s Empowerment Principles as a gender equality report guide.

WEPs Reporting Guidance:

For guidance on how to report on gender equality and women's empowerment, please see the WEPs Reporting Guidance. The guidance offers practical advice on how to report on implementation of each of the seven Women’s Empowerment Principles. It provides general reporting approaches and specific examples of disclosures and performance indicators for each Principle. Importantly, the guidance aligns with established reporting frameworks that businesses use such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), and can be integrated into business’ UN Global Compact Communication on Progress (COP).

SOURCE: WePrinciples


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