Women make up more than 40 percent of the global workforce, the CEOs of 21 of the largest global companies are women, and more young adult women than men have college degrees. But still, globally, women earn 77 percent of what men do, represent less than 5 percent of CEOs at S&P 500 companies, and face job restrictions in 100 economies. This doesn’t add up.

Each year, companies, civil society, governments, and institutions around the globe mark today, March 8, as International Women’s Day by reaffirming our commitments to invest in, advance, and empower women. At the same time, recognizing that significant gaps remain, International Women’s Day is an important moment to sharpen our focus on how to accelerate women’s progress.

To advance women’s empowerment, BSR is committed to working with our member companies to mobilize their business assets and maximize their opportunities to advance women, to building partnerships with leading organizations to better understand the hurdles women face globally, and to investing in our own women employees.

Today, we are excited to share with you our growing portfolio of work on women’s empowerment in two areas: research and tools and collaborative efforts.

Research and Tools

BSR recently published “Building Effective Women’s Economic Empowerment Strategies,” written in partnership with the International Center for Research on Women and sponsored by the Oak Foundation. The report helps companies build effective strategies for women’s economic empowerment by applying a holistic and integrated approach: “holistic” in considering the broader conditions necessary for women’s advancement, and “integrated” in leveraging the full set of business assets a company can deploy. The report focuses on opportunities across four sectors—information and communications technology, healthcare, financial services, and consumer products.

As a signatory to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), we are proud to be the lead implementation partner in developing a WEPs gap analysis tool that will assist companies with implementation of the principles. BSR is facilitating a series of global consultations to develop the tool and will road-test its guidance with company partners.

Collaboration

In the inaugural year of our Investing in Women collaborative initiative, we are working with more than a dozen leading companies so they can share their experience and learn how to advance company commitments and improve their practices in concrete, collaborative ways.

We are dramatically expanding HERproject, our global public-private partnership connecting business and civil society to build inclusive workplaces that empower women through improved health, strengthened financial capability, and positive gender relations. Active in 14 countries and 300 factories and farms, with more than 45 international companies and 20 civil society partners, HERproject has reached more than 350,000 women worldwide.

We join you all in celebration of this important day, and look forward to your continued partnership and support as we work to accelerate the advancement of women worldwide.