Business Action for Women Overview
The Sustainable Development Goals have placed women’s empowerment at the top of the global development agenda, through Goal 5 and as a catalyst to achieving each of the other 16 Goals. In particular, women’s economic inclusion is seen as a pathway to large-scale poverty alleviation and wide-ranging improvements in health and social development for individuals, families, communities, and countries.
For business, evidence is mounting that investing in women makes good business sense. Women are present in every part of global value chains—as producers and business owners, executives and employees, distributors, and consumers. As such, empowering women across the value chain presents an incredible opportunity for business to improve the lives of people making, selling, and buying products. In so doing, business can ensure more stable and efficient supply chains, draw on a diverse pool of talent, and reach new consumer segments—all of which can positively impact short- and long-term financial performance.
Companies are increasingly dedicating resources and setting public commitments to women’s progress. At the same time, women’s rights are being rolled back in some countries, and progress to close gender gaps in the workplace is slowing if not stalling. Achieving gender equality by 2030 will require stronger collaborations and new and scaled-up policies and programs dedicated to promoting women’s empowerment. It is time to break out of business-as-usual to create safe and inclusive workplaces and communities for women and men.
Download an overview of the Business Action for Women Collaborative Initiative.
The challenges facing women globally and the potential opportunities for business to tackle them are too large to address through siloed efforts focused on individual aspects of women’s empowerment.
Through shared learning, collective action, and capacity building, Business Action for Women provides a safe space for global businesses to discuss, learn, and explore dimensions of women’s advancement and gender equality, with a focus on the full value chain. By working together, the business community can drive faster and more meaningful progress to harness the potential presented by women’s advancement.
By joining Business Action for Women, companies can show their commitment to driving progress for women and increasing corporate knowledge and capacity to address issues around women’s empowerment. These issues include increasing women’s representation in leadership, ensuring equal pay, and creating safe and empowering workplaces and supply chains. Business Action for Women offers its members regular opportunities to:
- Learn from a community of companies committed to promoting women’s rights and gender equality across the value chain and thereby increase the number of concrete, measurable actions your company takes on women’s empowerment.
- Engage with diverse stakeholders, including experts, women’s rights organizations, and grassroots organizations, on topics such as engaging men in achieving gender equality, ensuring equal pay, and ending violence and harassment.
- Scale investments in women’s empowerment and maximize impact through company collaborations, multi-stakeholder partnerships, and engagement during key global and regional moments, including the UN Commission on the Status of Women, Women Deliver, and Generation Equality Forum.
Our efforts and outputs are focused on the following three pillars:
Shared Learning and Implementation: Business Action for Women provides a safe space to dig into challenges and successes with peers who are also implementing women’s empowerment programming. In-person and virtual meetings offer an opportunity for members to hear other businesses’ successes and lessons learned.
- In-person meetings twice a year
- Group webinars, calls on issue-specific opportunities, and updates on new and emerging issues such as the future of work and women, and implementing the ILO Convention on Ending Violence and Harassment in the World of Work
- Guidance on advancing the women’s empowerment agenda with various internal functions, such as human resources, procurement, and marketing
- IT platform with shared resources and tools, including content developed specifically for Business Action for Women members
Capacity Building: Business Action for Women develops tools, guides, and other resources to drive action within companies. Based on member interest, Business Action for Women helps to collate resources and insights from BSR and external experts and partners.
- Resources establishing the business case to invest in policies and programs supporting women and promoting gender equality
- Engagement with diverse stakeholders, including topic experts, other BSR collaborations, and women’s rights organizations
- Development of new risk assessment tools, guidance, and case studies on existing and emerging topics and best practices related to a range of issues such as sexual harassment, promoting women in leadership, equal pay, and women in supply chains
Communication and Collective Action: Business Action for Women serves as a hub and platform to surface, curate, and connect members to advance joint priorities.
- Connections with other companies from similar industries and/or regions and launch new collective programming and communications on priority issues
- Participation in external events, such as Women Deliver Conference
- Joint communications for priority dates and/or events such as International Women’s Day, advocacy opportunities, and amplification and support of messaging from one another