Gender equality in companies boosts the rights of women workers

April 27, 2021
Woman packing panela in the Rubi Mill, municipality of Yolombó, Antioquia - Colombia. Credit: Vamos Tejiendo project

The Covid 19 crisis has had negative effects on society as a whole but it has been especially hard on women. Today more than ever, companies, governments, and civil organizations must come together to achieve better conditions for women and girls.

The pandemic has made visible a reality that we must transform: working women are almost always responsible for domestic and care work in addition to their paid work. Rigid gender stereotypes are the root cause of this situation and it's our duty to question outdated social norms that discriminate against women and girls.

The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development prioritizes gender equity as one of its objectives. In addition to being part of the global sustainability goals, committing to gender equity in the workplace has a positive impact on the financial performance of companies: comprehensive measures that seek to improve the conditions of women in companies increase the return on assets by 25% (Aequales, 2020).  

Committing to gender equality implies recognizing the importance of care work and its role in economic growth. According to ECLAC (2021), investing in care infrastructure is positive for the economy as it expands the development possibilities of countries by freeing up time for women. 

The Vamos Tejiendo project, led by Pact and financed by USDOL, aims to promote decent work for women in the flower and panela value chain in Colombia. It has currently initiated alliances with companies, particularly in the flower industry, to strengthen and include a gender perspective in business policies in three areas: 1) promoting a work environment that allows women to access and remain in a job that enables the development of their technical and social skills, 2) training companies in gender equality and labor regulations, and 3) developing projects, programs, and initiatives that consolidate institutional practices of gender equality and social inclusion within their organizations. 

These actions are intended to generate commitments from companies to include in their labor policies the promotion of women's economic autonomy, the prevention of violence against women, and the recognition of unpaid care work as key aspects for women's social, economic, and political participation.