Promoting gender equity in business: CARE at the Business Fights Poverty conference

by 05th Jul 2018
Garment workers attend a meeting at a factory in Gazipur, Bangladesh Garment workers attend a meeting at a factory in Gazipur, Bangladesh

Gender equality is high on the corporate agenda, from sales of feminist merchandise, to gender pay gap reporting, to celebrities and politicians forming coalitions; confronting institutional norms and behaviour. It feels like we are in a moment in history where putting gender equity firmly on the table and creating positive change could achieve lasting equality. But behind the hashtags, the empowering t-shirts and glossy photographs, are we really creating change and tackling the barriers to gender equity and inclusive business?

We at CARE are really excited to host the gender equity zone at Business Fights Poverty’s annual conference in Oxford on 18 July 2018. Within the Women’s Equity and Inclusivity zone we have two brilliant sessions that are designed to enable the audience to take a closer look at issues that are creating the barriers to gender equity and inclusivity.

The first is a panel session focused on creating gender inclusive business models, which can enable women’s leadership and participation. The panel will be facilitated by Nilufar Verjee, CARE’s Director of Women’s Economic Empowerment, who will be talking with partners and friends of CARE to understand what they are doing in creating opportunities for women’s leadership and active participation. Hear a range of insights from tea plantations to boardrooms about what is working and what more needs to be done, for you to go back to your organisation with ideas and approaches to creating lasting change.

Our second session is an interactive workshop session on how sexual harassment and gender-based violence do not become flash hashtags but positive deep-rooted change. The session will be facilitated by CARE’s Head of Advocacy Alice Allan who has been leading CARE’s advocacy on creating the ILO Convention on ending violence against women and men in the workplace. We will hear from a range of speakers who work with or are affiliated with CARE’s work, on why they are focusing on the issue of safe workplaces and environments.

The session will then break out into workshop style to ask what can companies do to prevent sexual harassment in the supply chain, what can companies do to challenge negative social norms that enable sexual harassment, and how can companies support public policies that effectively prevent sexual harassment. We are hoping the workshop will generate a call to action for company members to go back to their business with.

With both of the sessions we hope that they will leave you feeling inspired and motivated to tackle the issues that are creating barriers to gender equity and inclusivity. More importantly we hope you leave feeling charged with ideas and approaches that you can take back to your organisation to create positive change for gender equality.

CARE and Business Fights Poverty have been working together for many years on advancing innovations in tackling social issues at scale with the private sector. Women’s Economic Empowerment has been a strong theme of our collaborations. Together we have already explored how businesses can become more inclusive, in particular: giving more women in supply chains access to and control over economic resources. Now we want to help make lasting change.

CARE has extensive experience of creating innovative and strategic partnerships with the private sector using the combined expertise and resources of both to create sustainable business models, to benefit both companies and the lives of millions of people across the world. There will be many of us from CARE at the Business Fights Poverty conference, we look forward to seeing you hopefully in both of our sessions and within the networking breaks where we can tell you more about our work.

If you aren’t already registered to join the conference, there is still time.

This blog was first published on the Business Fights Poverty website.

Laura Hawkesford

Laura joined CARE International UK in May 2018 as Head of Private Sector Engagement. She previously worked as Ethical Trading Manager at Marks & Spencer, where she worked closely with CARE on the Halow+ programme, a partnership between CARE, Marks & Spencer and GSK which aims to empower 50,000 garment factory workers in Bangladesh to improve individual and community health.