Women’s rights in the work place: Beyond window dressing, towards consistent action

 Every 8th March, people and organisations around the world celebrate the InternationalWomen’s Day. Speeches are given, flyers designed, and social and print media is generallyawash with messages. Unfortunately, it is easy to reduce what should be a constant andserious conversation into a singular, annual ritual of window dressed apathy toward genderinclusivity and equality. Beyond the speeches, flyers, and messages, is your company ororganisation taking real, meaningful, and consistent action to be more gender inclusive andequal? Or is it engaging in business as usual?

It is now universally acknowledged that corporations have rights-based obligations that they must fulfil side-by-side with their business agenda. Businesses have a corporateresponsibility to respect human rights as pointed out in the United Nations’ GuidingPrinciples on Business and Human Rights. Beyond making profits, a corporation should consider and abide by those obligations. This not only limits its legal liability since such abuses are actionable, but also improves its reputation and standing within the local community hosting it, in addition to ensuring that its entire workforce is equitably treated and motivated to offer its best service.

A business enterprise should position itself as a symbiotic part of society, serving andgrowing with the market and its people – not growing at their expense without regard forwhat is fair and proper; that is not a sustainable business model. A sustainable business model is one that is responsive to human rights, fairness, and community needs. This includes promoting real and universal 

By Joseph Byomuhangi – Coordinator UCCA