Gender equity in the workplace is not just a social issue—it’s also a business one. Recent reports find that by 2025, gender parity could add $12 trillion to the world economy. Additional research and evidence show that increasing gender diversity and empowering women within a company leads to increased profitability and productivity. Yet, at the current pace of progress, the world is still over 100 years away from achieving true gender equity as set forth by the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
This Concordia Live tackled this very issue. This past March, around International Women’s Day, CARE’s Corporate Council released the SDG5 Playbook, a toolkit to advise the private sector on how to achieve global gender equity by 2030. This discussion shared insights from this Playbook, with specific guidance on how businesses can more effectively integrate gender equity across dimensions such as “the field”, “the factory”, and “the supply chain”.
Vice President, Global Sustainability, Thriving People, Mars
Vice President, Global Sustainability & Packaging Innovation, McCormick
Senior Manager, Product and Social Innovation, PayPal
Vice President, Lead of Microsoft Philanthropies, Microsoft
Director, Family Law Center, University of Virginia School of Law
“A truly inclusive economic recovery is a problem way too big for one company/industry, so we are looking for innovative ways to partner with customers, the partner ecosystem, and especially governments to scale this work.” – Kate Behncken
“How can we all show up as an ecosystem, and what happens when we put women at the heart of some of our policies and what happens when we collectively make actions about what we can do to close the gap?” – Tori Horton
“If you empower a woman, you empower a household, you drive a community, and – more importantly – you expand access in a nation.” – Mike Okoroafor
“This is a time where we all have the opportunity to be brave. We are trying to change a power structure that has been deeply ingrained, and that is not a challenge for the faint of heart.” – Lisa Manley
Inclusive design is critical to the implementation of a large-scale initiative, which means, as one speaker said, “putting women at the center of the conversation”. To be truly gender inclusive in partnership design, consider practical elements – such as work-life balance, cultural expectations, access to finance or technology, and regulatory matters, as well as implementation aspects that might generate empowerment, like sourcing and procurement.
Amir Farokhi, Director, Corporate Council, Strategic Partnerships – “The private sector is a critical partner in our work to improve basic education, increased access to healthcare, and expand economic opportunity.”
Lisa Manley “Mars’ Full Potential platform is a value chain approach to gender equity. It looks at what we can do within our direct workplaces, supply chain communities, and marketplace to empower women.”
Tori Horton “Our mission at PayPal is for financial health, but that’s really linked to pay equality. So when we think about what our commitments are, it includes gender equality, as it is one of the most powerful things we can do to signal our commitment towards financial health. ”
“Pay equity and employee care benefits really go hand in hand as we think about how we can strengthen the inclusiveness of our workplace culture.” Read more about PayPal’s Crisis Leave Benefit, which proved that ⅔ of those who utilized this benefit were women.
Kate Behncken “What’s the unique value you can bring to the table to support this goal [of gender equality] – for us at Microsoft Philanthropies that’s digital inclusion, technology, partnerships and voice.”
Mike Okoroafor “[In regards to philanthropy] The problem with most companies is you give when the business is doing well, and when the business is not doing well, you do not give as much. So we [McCormick] changed that. We made a commitment to deliver top tier financial performance by doing well for our people, our communities where we live, where we work, and where we source and the planet that we share. It’s about doing well by doing good.”
Lisa Manley “Supply chains are more resilient when more women are able to reach their full potential.”
Mike Okoroafor “Working with CARE really allowed us to amplify the [post-COVID] impact we had on challenged communities.”
Kate Behncken “As each country emerges from COVID, we need to do more to focus and double down on our efforts to level the playing field for girls and women. And one powerful way women can be empowered financially is to secure jobs and livelihood opportunities…” which is why Microsoft’s Global Skills Initiative is so important.
Tori Horton “The pandemic added 36 years to that original opportunity to close the pay gap for women…The pandemic has really brought to the forefront that there has never been a better time to act, the time is always. But what can we do now and what can we do today to put the focus on women and how we can put women at the heart of policies and practices.”