Businesses must put more women in managerial and technical leadership posts if they want to boost working conditions as well as the productivity of global supply chains during and after the COVID-19 pandemic.
amfori and UN Women made the recommendation today in marking International Women’s Day and one year of their joint advocacy, a year that began with COVID-19 being declared a global public health emergency.
Across Asia and Europe, a high percentage of labour-intensive manufacturing jobs are done by women. But women also continue to be underrepresented in management, and many endure poor working conditions and gender discrimination. On top of that, female workers have been particularly hit hard as the pandemic has significantly impacted livelihoods.
amfori and UN Women are now halfway into their 10-month joint Women’s Empowerment Principles Activator (WEPs) programme, which encourages amfori member businesses in Europe to sign onto the Principles and make step-by-step plans to carry them out in their offices and factory floors.
Under the programme, both small to medium-sized and multinational companies have been taking a series of trainings on how to identify their gaps in gender equality, develop an action plan and to build capacity on implementing more gender-sensitive operations. To date, amfori members have begun their journey towards greater gender equality and participation, for example:
- 100% of participating members plan to sign the WEPs, with a majority already signing
- 100% of members have committed to develop a Gender Action Plan for their organization.
- 6 members have carried out a Gender Gap Analysis (GAT), while the majority of other members intend to implement a GAT too.
The amfori – UN Women programme working with WeEmpowerAsia, is funded by the European Union.
Christian Ewert, president of amfori, commended the importance of current collaborations: “International Women’s day is once again a stark reminder for all of us how important it is to continue working towards achieving gender equality globally. The challenging COVID-19 situation has and continues to impact this important objective but through tools like the amfori-UN Women WEPs Activator and the continued support of our amfori members, I remain confident that we will succeed in achieving lasting change.”
Mohammad Naciri, Regional Director, UN Women Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, added: “The future is better with women at the table, and businesses have a critical responsibility to bring about such transformation. As laid out by the Women’s Empowerment Principles, gender-responsive workplace practices can create a significant spur in decent jobs and leadership prospects for women. Together with the EU, UN Women works with amfori to leverage the private sector potential by helping companies tailor their policies to realize this, while at the same time, promoting inclusive growth."