Equality is Business

30.08.2017

Das „Women's Empowerment Principles Gap Analysis Tool“ von UN Global Compact, UN Women und der Interamerikanischen Entwicklungsbank unterstützt Unternehmen, ihre Stärken, Schwächen und Verbesserungsmöglichkeiten in der Förderung von Gleichberechtigung zu erkennen.

To help companies to come up with a strategic plan to identify strengths, gaps, and opportunities to improve the companies´ performance on gender equality, a joint initiative of the UN Global Compact, UN Women and the Inter-American Development Bank developed the Women's Empowerment Principles Gap Analysis Tool (WEPs Tool).

Gender Equality – Business Opportunity and Social Impact
Women and girls account for more than half of the world´s population, but their integration into the labor force is not proportional. Whereas three quarters of men are integrated, only 50% of women of working age participate in the global labor force (Source: UN Women 2015). This results in a huge unused economic potential for businesses. An equal participation of women and men in the formal economy would add an estimated 28 trillion USD to the global GDP (Source: McKinsey Global Institute).

Women's empowerment has verifiable impacts on the productivity and profitability of the company itself. Companies with a diverse workforce are 22% more productive, have 27% higher profitability and 39% higher customer satisfaction (Source: Cumulative Gallup Workplace Studies). Increased women's empowerment can lead to higher delivery reliability by minimizing risks such as fluctuation and work loss. It also strengthens a company's attractiveness and reputation as employer, which can reduce the cost of recruitment and achieve staff retention. Continuing to engage in women's empowerment further increases a company's attractiveness to investors, who correlate gender equality and future growth.

Investment in women's empowerment is more than a good business practice: it is a global priority. Since the introduction of the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development 2015, which lays out a path for all nations to work collectively towards a sustainable future, gender equality has been seen as a global challenge that needs be tackled with the indispensable help from the global economic sector. The UN Global Compact ranks gender equality among the Top 10 global opportunities and it is ranked the third most likely to be pursued by business. Combating inequalities will be of the utmost importance in the coming years, and business can ensure their products and services contribute to battling inequalities rather than further entrenching them. (Source: UNGC Global Opportunity Report 2017).
Companies investing in gender equality directly help to reduce poverty and contribute to economic growth and a sustainable future. An emphasis on gender equality will strengthen communities because women with a stable salary are more likely to reinvest the salary in their families and communities than men. This contributes to more stable and better-educated societies for the next generation.


Options for action are versatile
Many companies have already embraced the importance of gender equality within their own business and set good examples for other companies to follow and find inspiration. The focus of the engagement lies in several areas. The publication “Empowering Women in Global Supply Chains” of the German Global Compact Network mentions some of them, for instance:

  • Considering risks for women in global supply chains
    Improved working conditions for women can increase the productivity and minimize the risk of the company. For example, the provision of a kinder garden and a hospital for factory workers and their families in a Vietnamese industry company reduced the rate of absence and employee fluctuation. Furthermore, labor disputes lessened, costs decreased and the productivity increased sustainably.
  • Partnerships with women-owned female-owned businesses
    To ensure competitiveness and high quality products, an international beverage producer strives for a diversification of its suppliers, with a special focus on female-owned businesses at every stage of the value chain, from producers, distributors and retailers to recyclers or artisans. For that, they provided a versatile training program for women to train their business skills and knowledge about financial transactions (e.g. how to open up a bank account). With this knowledge, businesses owned by women constitute a powerful and long-lasting partner for the company.


Where to start? - Women's Empowerment Principles Gap Analysis Tool
While the importance of gender equality and women's empowerment to a company cannot be overstressed, for a company these values may be difficult to implement throughout the business operations. To help companies to come up with a strategic plan to identify strengths, gaps, and opportunities to improve the companies´ performance on gender equality, a joint initiative of the UN Global Compact, UN Women and the Inter-American Development Bank developed the Women's Empowerment Principles Gap Analysis Tool (WEPs Tool). Grounded in the Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs), the tool helps companies to assess current policies and programs, highlight areas for improvement, and identify opportunities to set future corporate goals and targets.

With an 18-questions questionnaire, companies are able to assess themselves confidentially in their performance on gender equality and identify ways for improvement.
The tool was developed by over 170 businesses in collaboration with institutions like the German Global Compact Network and the UN Women National Committee Germany, who organized a stakeholder workshop for its elaboration.

Topics covered by the assessment include: commitment to a gender equality strategy, equal pay, recruitment, supporting parents and caregivers, women’s health, inclusive sourcing, and advocacy for gender equality in communities of operation. Each question is organized according to a management model, which guides companies of all sizes through the process of formally committing, implementing & action, measuring, communicating progress, and taking action. Furthermore, the assessment results offer best practice examples and the possibility to benchmark against peers and industry standards.

The self-assessment takes about 2-3 hours, is easily done online and is free of charge. How does your company perform in women empowerment to use its full potential and contribute to a more sustainable and equal economic future? Find out at: https://weps-gapanalysis.org/

More information:
https://www.unglobalcompact.org/take-action/action/womens-principles

Stakeholder workshop with the German Global Compact Network an the UN Women National Committee Germany in September 2016
Stakeholder workshop with the German Global Compact Network an the UN Women National Committee Germany in September 2016
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