Currently, women encounter many barriers in the social and labor sphere, but it is necessary for development and sustainability that companies to become aware of these barriers and establish policies to tackle them by promoting women empowerment. There are many tools, programs and formulas to empower women in order to create a fair, sustainable and effective industry, sector or organization.
Furthermore, studies and data show that 70% of the world population living in poverty are women; or that only 15% of the world heritage belongs to women. For instance, in the Sub-Saharan African regions, three-quarters of the underweighted women and undernourished children are not considered being part of the 20% of the poorest households. These figures are representation of the inequalities that the most vulnerable suffer and poverty affecting mainly girls and women, which still face violence and inequalities. For instance, according the Human Development Report, the percentage of the loss in human development due to inequalities in the Sub-Saharan Africa is around 30.5% (2018).
Despite the inequalities, there are ways to guide the women empowerment promoting sustainability:
The Kabngetuny Cooperative that received training for 300 women on good agricultural practices and formation of caring for the farmland, that lead the company to improve the quality of the coffee and combined with a sustainably industry, protects the environment with ecofriendly products. For example, ‘green energy’ biogas stoves that helps these women to warm up the house or cook without spending time collecting firewood.
Moreover, the training also benefited other women, by helping them to launch a new brand of coffee for women (Zawadi coffee), been a symbol of empowerment of women and sustainability.
Another example is, the BSR, a corporation that helps the hotel industry that employ many women as receptionist, cleaning staff or waitresses of the bar or restaurant. Such kind of jobs for women in many cases can be exploitative or abusive. However, this organization created the Prioritization Process and Call to Action that aims the empowerment of those women basic business and communications trainings, ICT training, and a mentorship network of female hotel employees and other local female professionals.
Nowadays there are many examples of other companies that empower women and promote sustainability with rules, such as:
- Zero tolerance for sexually intimidating, abusive or exploitative behavior.
- Pregnancy tests are not performed when hiring workers.
- Programs to support minority and disadvantaged groups, such as women.
- Match the salary in the same positions.
In conclusion, to promote a change and empower women for an equal society, it is important to support companies that collaborate with these standards and collaborate I the creation of effective policies over time.