Browse by Theme: Private Sector

Across the world, women make a significant contribution to agricultural supply chains, in spite of complex hurdles that limit their inclusion and their leadership. The UN High Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment (HLP) identified seven key drivers for women’s economic empowerment (WEE), and the HLP called on governments, private sector companies and civil society organisations to step up their work on WEE by increasing investment, finding new types of partnerships and expanding their actions to more of the ‘drivers’.

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The private sector is an essential partner in the women’s economic empowerment movement. Corporations large and small employ a significant proportion of the labour force worldwide, and their value chains touch all economies and nearly every person on Earth. They have enormous power to bring about transformative change through inclusive hiring and promotion policies, market expansion, workforce development, and procurement spending.

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What does women’s economic empowerment mean to you?

To me, women’s economic empowerment is a fresh and insightful new approach to uplifting the status of women in all walks of life.

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There is currently a great opportunity for everyone who is interested in women’s economic empowerment to push forward a key initiative to tackle the gender-based violence which plays a key role in the workplace in continuing oppressive working conditions, in diminishing women’s voices, and in breaching women’s rights. Achieving an ILO Convention on ending violence and harassment in the workplace will support the empowerment of millions of women.

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The suggested ILO Convention on ending violence and harassment at work, while positive, still has some way to go on some key issues, including the role of women in developing and implementing the Convention, who are identified as workers, what is a place of work, and the responsibilities of multinational companies.

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Organisations thrive when management and employees have open communications and are able to discuss issues and develop solutions together. Investing in workers can lead to an increase in their productivity, reliability and quality of work. Most importantly, workers who have an effective voice within the workplace and around the issues affecting the wider community, can better protect their rights and achieve their potential. That’s why we’ve just launched a new partnership with Twinings to improve the lives and livelihoods of tea workers and so increase the sustainability of the tea value chain.

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The only good thing about the recent revelations over the yawningly wide gender pay gap at the BBC was the outrage. People felt it was morally corrupt and utterly unequal that women were paid less than men for doing the same job in the UK in 2017. We need to feel the same level of outrage about women’s staggering lack of economic empowerment globally. Without focusing more on the rights and equality arguments, decent work for women will remain out of reach.

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