CARE Examine the Importance of Gender Equity in Business

By Laura Hawkesford, Head of Private Sector Engagement, CARE

Gender equality is high on the corporate agenda, 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? CARE, who will host the Women’s Equity and Inclusivity Zone at Business Fights Poverty Oxford, examine the importance of gender equity in business.

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 make 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.

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 works for a world of justice, without poverty, because poverty is injustice. We save lives in disasters and conflicts. We stand with women, girls and their communities to achieve lasting change for a better future. 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 Business Fights Poverty, 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.

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