Presented by Marat Yu, Business for Social Responsibility (BSR) Manager
Marat Yu shared some key insights on gender equality and women’s rights from his work with HERProject, a collaborative initiative that strives to empower low-income women working in global supply chains.
Working Towards Gender Equality in Global Supply Chains
In 2017, the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report found that the overall gender gap increased for the first time since the Forum had started tracking it in 2006. This is further proof that despite the progress already made in women’s empowerment, gaps still remain and increased momentum is required.
Some key statistics highlighting the degree of gender inequality:
Systemic barriers faced by women
Four overarching systemic barriers hinder women’s access to empowerment and development opportunities:
Pressing gender inequality issues in global supply chains
In global supply chains, women suffer from a large wage gap, poor working conditions, including lack of formal contracts and access to social insurance, and frequent verbal abuse and sexual harassment. Notably, one in five countries still lacks laws against sexual harassment in employment.
A recent analysis of factory audit data from the Sedex global platform showed that in such areas as discrimination, harassment, equal opportunities and health & safety, 80% of non-compliances were gender-related. While lack of clear policies on discrimination and sexual harassment were frequent, almost half of gender-related non-compliances were related to such basic measures as providing female employees with adequate washroom and toiler facilities.
The business case and practical approaches for gender equality in supply chains
In addition to being an important human rights issue, gender equality results in tangible positive outcomes for businesses, including a stronger workforce, increased productivity, better ability to meet production targets, improved overall compliance and enhanced employee engagement.
Mainstreaming gender equality in supply chains requires integrating gender considerations within internal and external policies, processes, and practices: