SDG 5 Case Study : Women Empowerment Programs Improve Business Resiliency

SDG 5, “Gender Equality” aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls. Women and girls worldwide are impacted by gender inequality, which restricts their access to political, medical, and economic possibilities. Gender equality is acknowledged in SDG 5 as both a fundamental human right and a need for sustainable development. Governments, civil society organisations, the commercial sector, and individuals must work together to achieve SDG 5.

In recent years, SDG 5 has made some significant advancements. The most important is better access to education, with more girls enrolling in and completing their schooling. For gender stereotypes to go and a more equitable society to emerge, this is crucial. Access to medical treatment needs to be improved as well. The number of maternal deaths has decreased, access to family planning services has increased, and efforts to improve the health and happiness of women have gained ground in many nations. To fulfil the SDG 5 targets, however, there is still much work to be done. In many parts of the world, gender-based violence continues to be a severe problem, and women are still underrepresented in positions of authority and decision-making.

In this article, we share some of the sustainable strategies for businesses to achieve SDG 5, Gender Equality and a case study on how an international company improved its business resiliency and improved workers’ lives through women empowerment programs in India. 

SDG 5
Goal of SDG 5
SDG 5’s Targets

5.1 End all forms of discrimination and violence against all women and girls.

5.2 Eliminate all forms of harmful practices, such as child marriage and female genital mutilation.

5.3 Ensure full and effective participation of women and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.

5.4 Ensure universal access to sexual and reproductive health and rights, as well as access to quality healthcare services.

5.5 Enhance the use of enabling technology, in particular information and communications technology, to promote the empowerment of women.

5.6 Promote policies and legislation that provide women with equal rights to economic resources, including access to ownership and control over land and other forms of property, financial services, inheritance and natural resources.

5.a Strengthen and ensure the effective implementation of legal frameworks that protect and promote women’s rights, including ending gender-based violence and harmful practices.

5.b Support and encourage women’s participation in leadership positions and decision-making processes in all sectors and at all levels.

5.c Recognise and value unpaid care and domestic work, and provide public services, infrastructure and social protection policies that promote gender equality and women’s empowerment.

5.d Ensure equal opportunities for access to education, vocational training, and the pursuit of lifelong learning for women and girls.

Sustainable Strategies to Achieve SDG 4

Businesses can support broader social and economic growth while enhancing their performance and reputation by putting gender equality measures into practise. There are various methods for businesses to support SDG 5 and foster a more fair and sustainable future for all, from giving female staff training and development opportunities to promoting diversity and inclusivity. We summarise the sustainable strategies for achieving SDG 5:

  1. Promote gender diversity and inclusion: By implementing policies and practises that provide equal opportunity for all employees, regardless of gender, businesses can encourage gender diversity and inclusion in the workplace. This involves encouraging equal compensation for equal labour, allowing flexible work schedules, and giving training and mentorship programmes to help women’s career growth.
  2. Make your supply chain management gender-sensitive: Businesses should guarantee that their supply chains take gender equality into account by tackling problems like child labour, forced labour, and discrimination against women. Making sure that women are treated fairly and have equal access to career and educational opportunities is part of this.
  3. Gather and report gender-disaggregated data: By collecting and presenting gender-disaggregated data, businesses can track their advancements towards attaining gender equality. This includes information on their workforce’s gender diversity, gender pay inequalities, and the effects of their efforts and programmes on women and girls.
  4. Invest in community programs and initiatives: Businesses can help local programmes and projects that advance gender equality and women’s empowerment. This includes funding educational and training projects for women and girls, backing initiatives promoting women’s leadership and entrepreneurship, and facilitating access to healthcare resources and services.
Case Study: An International business develops women empowerment program to improve the advancement of women employees and workers’ lives
Background

In India, where women frequently encounter significant barriers to attaining school and career opportunities, gender workforce inequality continues to be a major problem. Despite recent reductions in gender disparities in the workforce in India, women continue to experience considerable wage discrepancies and underrepresentation in some sectors and professions. Also, women are disproportionately represented in low-wage, unorganised jobs with scant job security and benefits. 

Business M which is based in India is a well-known international producer of intimate apparel, athletic clothing, and swimwear. The business, which has expanded its operations to other nations including India, is firmly committed to sustainability and social responsibility. The majority of the thousands of workers employed by Business M’s manufacturing sites in India are women. The organisation acknowledged the need to support SDG 5, which aims to achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

Challenges

The absence of opportunity for women to grow in the workplace was one of the biggest problems Business M in India faced. In the factories, many of the female employees occupied entry-level jobs with limited potential for advancement. Women found it challenging to pursue employment in fields with a male predominance, such engineering and management, due to cultural hurdles as well.

Solutions

Business M conducted a variety of measures to support SDG 5 in order to address these issues. The creation of a Women’s Leadership Program, which was intended to offer training and assistance to female employees who had leadership potential, was one of the major projects. The programme included mentorship and coaching from seasoned industry leaders as well as courses on subjects including negotiation, decision-making, and communication.

The implementation of a career development programme, which was accessible to all employees but aimed to provide women more chances to rise into higher-level jobs, was another step. Together with possibilities for job rotations and cross-functional projects, the programme offered technical and managerial skill training. In addition, the corporation started a public relations effort to foster inclusivity and diversity in the workplace and to inspire more women to enter non-traditional professions.

Impact

The career development programme and the women’s leadership programme at Business M in India have made a big difference in the lives of the female employees. Many of the women who took part in these programmes were given promotions to higher-level jobs and assumed leadership positions inside the business. Their confidence and sense of empowerment have also strengthened, in addition to their economic situation.

By fostering a more diverse and inclusive working atmosphere, the awareness campaign has also had a positive effect. This has inspired more women to pursue careers in occupations that were traditionally thought of as “men’s vocations,” helping to break down cultural barriers and preconceptions. As a result, Business M is now more appealing to women as an employer and is able to draw in and keep a more competent and varied workforce.

Conclusion

In conclusion, businesses have a crucial role in reducing gender inequality, a significant obstacle to social and economic progress worldwide. As showcase by the case study, companies may enhance the lives of their employees, improve their resiliency and reputation as socially responsible and sustainable organisations, and help to achieve broader development goals by investing in projects that promote gender equality in the workplace. Supporting SDG 5 is ultimately in the best interests of businesses themselves and is morally and ethically correct. Businesses can build a more equitable, inclusive, and prosperous society for all by acknowledging the significance of gender equality and actively promoting it.

References: 

  1. Goal 5 | Department of Economic and Social Affairs. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal5

  2. Mas Holdings: UN Global Compact. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://unglobalcompact.org/take-action/target-gender-equality/interviews-with-female-leaders/mas-holdings

Case Study : SDG 5 Gender Equality

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