The resilience of global supply chains is intrinsically linked to the status of women on farms and in factories. In many industries, including agriculture, healthcare, apparel, and toys, women make up a majority of the workers. When women’s health, well-being, and access to opportunities are compromised, their productivity and efficiency suffer, which in turn hurts companies. Ignoring gender gaps and inequalities can leave companies exposed to production and delivery disruptions, bottlenecks, and inefficiencies.
Today, most companies use social audits both to verify that suppliers are upholding the company’s minimum requirements and to help design corrective action plans to improve workplaces. However, women’s rights and workplace-specific challenges are often not reflected in supplier codes of conduct and are addressed in very limited ways, if at all, in the auditing methodologies used to verify compliance with such codes. Mainstreaming gender equality considerations within social audits can have beneficial effects on the ability of companies and suppliers to identify and adequately remediate material existing issues for the women in their supply chains.
To support social auditors, companies and a broader spectrum of social compliance regulatory organizations, BSR has developed a Gender Equality and Social Audits e-Learning course. The interactive course, consisting of three parts, covers key gender concepts, the business case for addressing gender in social audits, and considerations for tips for ensuring a gender-sensitive approach throughout an audit process. The three modules should take approximately one and a half hours to complete.
For more information on how to integrate gender issues into social audits, read the full guidance in English and Chinese.