Sunday 8 March marks International Women’s Day, and this year, Generation Equality is the global theme. 2020 also marks the tenth anniversary of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), established by the UN Women and the UN Global Compact Office.
UN Women Australia explains this year’s International Women’s Day theme:
Generation Equality is a call to action to join forces across generations, to create a world where every girl and woman has equal opportunities to fulfil their full potential. Equal access to education and income are central to levelling the playing field for women around the world.
The WEPs are a tool to facilitate ‘Generation Equality.’ They set out principles that guide organisations on how to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace and community. They are common-sense principles that can be integrated into corporate strategic plans, policies and procedures, as well as to the day-to-day of business, to build and maintain a culture of equality.
Here are the principles and actions that organisations can take to demonstrate their support.
Principle 1 – Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality
Support for this principle could be demonstrated by establishing organisational goals and targets. Consideration could also be given to including goals and targets in performance plans for managers of an organisation.
Principle 2 – Treat all women and men fairly at work – respect and support human rights and non-discrimination
Actions could include offering flexible working arrangements and leave. Reviewing policies and practices to ensure they are inclusive could also foster an inclusive workplace culture.
Principle 3 – Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers
A zero-tolerance policy against all forms of violence and harassment at work could be used to demonstrate support for this principle. Further, organisations could also acknowledge the right for all staff to have time off for medical care and counselling for themselves and their dependents.
Principle 4 – Promote education, training and professional development for women
Organisations could demonstrate support for this principle by ensuring equal access to and participation in internal education and training programmes. Training offerings about sexual harassment and unconscious bias could also be considered.
Principle 5 – Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women
In support of this principle, organisations could leverage their procurement activities to ensure that their suppliers adopt policies and practices that support equality and are consistent with the WEPs.
Principle 6 – Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy
The promotion and recognition of women’s leadership and contribution by ensuring their active participation in consultation processes, is a suggested action for support of this principle.
Principle 7 – Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality
This principle could be supported by organisations benchmarking their achievements by collecting, analysing and using gender statistics to measure and report improvements over time.
For our Victorian government clients, there is a nice intersect between the WEPs and Victoria’s Social Procurement Framework. The Social Procurement Framework objective ‘ Women’s equality and safety’ includes two outcomes:
· Adoption of family violence leave by Victorian Government suppliers
· Gender equality within Victorian Government suppliers
Further, the objectives ‘Opportunities for disadvantaged Victorians’ and ‘Supporting safe and fair workplaces’ also encourage equality by including outcomes around job readiness and employment and support suppliers that comply with industrial relations laws and promote secure employment.
While it is not mandated to include social procurement evaluation criteria in procurements less than $1 million in regional and $3 million in metro or state-wide projects, it is encouraged. By utilising the Social Procurement Framework, and particularly the objectives and outcomes mentioned above, Victorian government organisations can leverage their procurement activities to promote the WEPs and expect/ require suppliers to have policies and procedures that are consistent with the WEPs and ‘Generation Equality’.
We are heartened here at CourtHeath that International Women’s Day has evolved to become more than just a day. We are a proud and public supporter of the WEPs since 2018 and a participant in the UN Global Compact.
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A participant in the UN Global Compact, CourtHeath seeks to raise awareness about the Sustainable Development Goals and the principles of the Global Compact with business and government organisations in Victoria.
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IMAGE: Used under licence from shutterstock.com
Written by Dr Julia Cornwell McKean and Pauline Bernard.
[category courtheath's blog]
[iwd2020, generationequality, womensday]