Women’s Empowerment Overview
Our focus on women’s empowerment is central to achieving our mission of creating a just and sustainable world. Business holds significant, untapped potential to contribute to women’s advancement and stands to benefit tremendously by ensuring women are empowered. BSR believes business has many opportunities to influence the status of women—through employment practices, sourcing, product and service development, partnerships, supplier relationships, and marketing campaigns.
Through our work with businesses, we aim to achieve progress for women so that they can:
- Access the resources necessary to meet their needs and reach their potential. These include material resources (land, equipment, and finances), social resources (relationships, networks, and connections) and human resources (knowledge, skills, and creativity).
- Have the agency to make decisions to shape their future. Agency is influenced by collective assets and capabilities, which include voice, organization, and identity.
- Thrive in an enabling environment that businesses contribute to shape. This includes formal and informal laws, regulatory frameworks, and norms that govern behavior.
Investing in women’s advancement presents many benefits to business:
- Attract and retain new talent
- Generate new product ideas and process improvements
- Access and grow new supplier base
Cost Savings and Productivity
- Build a more resilient and inclusive supply chain
- Increase productivity through access to essential resources
- Reduce turnover and increase retention
- Access and grow new markets
- Drive consumer loyalty
- Enhance brand reputation
How We Work
Developing Impactful Strategies
We work with global businesses to develop a comprehensive overview of their performance on women’s empowerment, set priorities, and develop and execute a strategy that drives business success and women’s advancement, including through implementation of the Women’s Empowerment Principles.
Driving Progress for Women in Supply Chains
Women represent a vast majority of workers in global supply chains, yet existing supply chain management systems do not adequately address their rights and needs. BSR works with companies to integrate gender into their supplier management systems and deliver impactful workplace programs focused on women’s health, financial literacy, and gender relations through HERproject.
Tackling Systemic Challenges
Very few corporate women’s empowerment programs offer opportunities to scale, and even fewer propose multi-stakeholder and cross-sector solutions. BSR’s Business Action for Women collaboration is a coalition of companies driving collective progress for women through a shared action framework.
BSR has developed a framework for action that identifies three fundamental roles business can play individually or collaboratively to advance women’s empowerment:
- Act by making decisions to advance women within their own operations. This includes developing gender-sensitive policies and guidelines, as well as developing effective programs related to recruitment and retention, procurement, product and services development, and corporate investments.
- Enable by supporting the company’s business ecosystem to make similar women’s empowerment commitments. This includes partnering with NGOs, community organizations, and business partners to promote women’s empowerment in global supply chains and working with suppliers to build their capacity on women’s empowerment and develop supportive workplaces.
- Influence by shaping public opinion and public policy to create an environment that supports opportunities for women’s advancement. This includes engaging in research, advocacy, and communications campaigns, as well as industry collaborations.