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Promoting Gender Equality in the Workplace: The 5 Ps Businesses Need to Act On

10 March 2022

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Sarah Ashraf Abdelgelil

Promoting Gender Equality in the Workplace: The 5 Ps Businesses Need to Act On

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3 min read

In today’s dynamic business environment, increasing women’s representation is widely recognized as an imperative for enhanced performance, business sustainability and economic growth. Yet, many companies are still uncertain as to how they can effectively advance gender equality in the workplace. And consequently, an entire community misses out on the economic benefit of empowering women.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the 5 Ps that businesses need to consider when addressing obstacles to women’s inclusion in the workplace. By looking into their Purpose, People, Policies, Products and Partnerships, companies can assess where they stand on gender equality from a holistic point of view and gain valuable insights on the action required to improve gender diversity in the workplace.

1. Purpose:

Gender equality should be viewed as a strategic priority. In addition to making a public commitment to improving gender equality, companies need to make strategic and deliberate decisions to drive change. Some of the areas for assessment in relation to gender equality and the company’s purpose include: 

    • Promoting an organization-wide gender equality strategy and identifying priority areas for women’s inclusion across all business areas
    • Communicating the strategy to all employees (men and women) 
    • Designating a Diversity and Inclusion Lead to drive and translate the strategy into concrete initiatives

2. People:  

A company’s most valuable asset is its employees and thus, it is important to recognise employees’ developmental needs and ensure equal opportunities for all, men and women. When it comes to promoting gender equality, there are several factors to be considered, including:

    • A gender-inclusive approach to recruitment (i.e., reducing gender bias across the recruitment process from communicating positions, to screening applications, and holding interviews)
    • Avenues for professional development and equal opportunities for promotion
    • Diversity in management and leadership roles
    • An equal pay scale for men and women

3. Policies:

Company policies, processes and support structures are intended to create a safe and growth-oriented environment for all employees. Particularly in the current context of the global pandemic, companies must start to reimagine the workplace and introduce certain changes to accommodate employees’ needs. Some of the issues to consider when examining how company policies can contribute to advancing gender equality within the workplace include: 

    • Aligning company policies regarding parental leave with national regulatory requirements
    • Ensuring the policies reflect the constraints imposed by Covid-19 and the need for work-life balance

4. Products: 

Consumers increasingly expect brands to be ethical and socially responsible. Having inclusive products and services increases the addressable market, it makes products that both genders will want to repeatedly purchase and helps companies differentiate  from competition by providing a product that truly addresses women’s challenges and needs. When reviewing company products, it is worthwhile considering the following: 

    • The company has a gender inclusive marketing strategy, where relevant, such as one that:
      • address existing gender norms
      • portray women in an empowered manner (where relevant) and
      • use gender inclusive language
    • The company collects and tracks gender – disaggregated data on customers’ usage and satisfaction of their products and services

5. Partnerships

There are many avenues for companies to promote gender equality through partnerships, including:

    • Adopting processes to ensure working equally with both men and women-owned businesses for procurement in its value chain
    • Using databases to identify women-owned, operated, and controlled enterprises
    • Dedicating a percentage of corporate social responsibility initiatives to projects that support women’s economic empowerment. 

Through different types of partnerships, companies can make tangible contributions to gender equality and unlock more opportunities for women to work in the private sector.

Working together for gender equality

Gender-responsive business practices cut across the organization, from HR to budgeting and procurement, marketing and communication. It, therefore, requires collective efforts and an active engagement from management and staff to uncover gender gaps across these 5 aspects and implement suitable initiatives that fit the company’s unique context and operation. To support and incentivize companies to translate ideas and strategies into action, the public sector and civil society also have an important role.

Want to learn more?

NAMA Women Advancement, in cooperation with Dalberg Advisors, has developed the Women’s Inclusion toolkit under its Irtiqa platform with the view to help businesses deliver on their gender equality goals.

For more info on the Irtiqa platform and to partner with NAMA, reach out to: irtiqa@namawomen.ae.

References

A. Environmental Stewardship
To protect the environment, we organize programmes like mangrove nursery and Reforestation, Coastal and River Clean-Up, Community Based Environmental Solid Waste Management, Environmental IEC Campaign and Eco-Academy

B. Food Security and Sustainable Livelihood
To ensure a sustainable livelihood for the community, eco-tourism include Buhatan River Cruise Visitor Center Buhatan River Mangrove Boardwalk are run by the community. Others include Organic Vegetable and Root crops Farming, Vegetable and Root crops Chips and by-products Processing and establishing a Zero waste store.

C. Empowered Communities
To empower the community, we provide product and Agri-Enterprise Development Training, Immersion and Learnings Exchange Program, Earth Warrior Training and Community Based Social Entrepreneurship Training

Author

Sarah Ashraf Abdelgelil

Senior Executive - Gender Equality

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