It's Your Business
Gender issues have long been key to Oxfam’s mission to fight poverty, but we have not previously given great prominence to the role of business in gender and development. Earlier in the month, to coincide with International Women’s Day, we rectified that by launching Gender Inequality: it's your Business.
We recognise that many companies do protect gender rights in their operations and value chains, and it’s worth saying that there are a lot of imaginative and positive gender initiatives across banking, telecoms, consumer products and other sectors. However, at Oxfam we frequently worry that too many of these are CSR “add-ons”: not sufficiently central to a company’s operations, and actually only improving things for a relatively small number of the women that the company impacts. And that’s the “good” businesses who have actually developed gender initiatives.
So our report highlights that business performance on gender equality still has some way to go. But we also know that figuring out how to tackle the issues is not always a simple task, so our report provides some practical advice on how to make progress:
And the good news is that those who progress gender equality find significant practical benefits: for example, improved productivity, reduced staff turnover and access to a wider pool of talented staff at all levels of the organisation. Of course, none of this is easy. That's why we have published a briefing that includes a lot more practical detail, and references to a wide collection of useful materials, to support executives and managers in achieving a more just gender balance. And even if you are not currently sitting in the boardroom, you can still help your company make progress on gender equality - send key execs a copy of Gender Inequality: it's your Business, and then think about which of the activities we have set out you personally can influence.
Gerry BoyleWikipedia: Gerry 'The Bee' Boyle is an American novelist. →