29 January 2021: amfori organised the second in a series of webinars on the Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs) in India. During the webinar, prominent speakers provided insights into the business, economic and social benefits of integrating gender equality practices in business operations. As part of amfori’s Vision 2030, women empowerment and gender equality have been at the centre of our strategic priorities and goals in the years to come.
Toplines of the discussion focussed on overcoming the challenges faced by women and preparing a level-playing field for them – socially, economically and personally. Some of the key takeaways included the following:
- Women all over the world, including in India, face significant challenges along supply chains. Issues such as taking on the majority of unpaid care work, declining women’s labour force participation, and underrepresentation in leadership roles.
- Nevertheless, there are significant benefits to be gained from promoting women's empowerment. Promoting women empowerment can have multiplier impacts on human rights protection, achieving gender equality, and could add $12 Trillion to the world economy by 2025.
- In 2010, the UN Global Compact and UN Women launched a 7-principle framework to guide all types of businesses how to ensure women’s participation in the workplace, marketplace, and community. Globally, there are over 4000 companies that have voluntarily committed to this Framework, therefore creating a community of action of practice. In the same way, the Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs) provide a value chain approach to women’s empowerment starting from Leadership commitment which is then translated into the workplace, the marketplace, and community actions. 17 amfori members are currently participating in the programme.
Ms. Ihitashri Shandilya, an Indian businesswoman and signatory of the WEPs is proud of the steps she has taken to empower women in her company:
“Creating livelihood, preserving heritage and livelihoods for traditional women artisans are important. The WEPs help us to understand and achieve our vision and how our stakeholders can help support us in achieving them.”
Similarly, Ms. Anuradha Chadha, a female entrepreneur, is hopeful of the opportunities that the WEPs Activator offers:
“after going through a tough phase in my life I decided to be an entrepreneur at the age of 45. I wanted to create a company where women not able to earn but also feel supported and safe to talk about the issues they face in their family and community. Incorporating the WEPs helps me and my company to achieve this vision.”
In conclusion, a common topic that emerged from the discussion is the need for men and women to work together to achieve gender equality.