Global Compact Network India (GCNI) – A local arm of United Nations Global Compact, New York conducted the third edition of its Gender Equality Summit, 2020 at The Park, New Delhi.
Theme paper on ‘Rethinking Gender Representation across Value Chains’ unveiled during the summit. The report suggested that raising women’s participation in the labour force to the same level as men can boost India’s GDP by 27%
The theme paper on Rethinking Gender Representation across Value Chains was launched in association with Grant Thornton India.
An estimated 15 million girls and 10 million boys of primary school age are out of school. Women comprised 39% of the workforce in 2018, but held only 27% of managerial positions. 18% of women and girls aged 15 to 49 have experienced physical and/or sexual violence by an intimate partner in the past 12 months in the 30 countries where female mutilation (fgm) is concentrated.
Globally 38.7% of employed women are working in agriculture, forestry and fisheries, but only 13.8% of landholders are women. The lack of sex – disaggregated data in the environment domain affects the development and implementation of effective policies and programmes to address the gender-environment nexus.
Women are made vulnerable through discriminatory migration policies. An assessment of migration policies related to family renunciation from 45 countries show that 71% impose some restriction on spouses and partners joining migrants in the host country. In other cases, women’s migration status is tied to a resident or citizen spouse, preventing them from living autonomous lives and heightening already unequal power relations and possible exposure to violence.
Women spend 3x as many hours a day to unpaid care and domestic work as men. This limits the time they have available for paid work, education and leisure and further reinforces gender – based social and economic disadvantages.
At home, at work and in political life, women are too often denied decision-making power. While women represent 39% of global workforce only 27% of managerial positions worldwide were occupied by women in 2018, up marginally from 26% in 2015.
The paper showcases that the economic opportunity gap has worsened, now requiring 257 years from 2020 to attain parity, compared to 202 from last year. One of the greatest challenges to closing this gap as highlighted in the WEF Gender Gap Report is women’s underrepresentation in emerging roles such as cloud computing, engineering and data and AI around the world.
Coinciding with the International Women’s day, UNGCNI’s 3rd Gender Equality Summit, linked the international theme with the Indian context to highlight the current generation as a key driver and the India Inc. as a key catalyst for gender equality.
This summit aimed towards building a concrete roadmap towards gender equality at workplaces in India. It focused on driving and bringing in change for inclusive and equal opportunities in employment and growth for the women workforce.
Key discussions at the summit included gaining an understanding of strategies adopted by leadership to promote a gender-neutral culture across hierarchies within the organisations and supply chains, insights on unique policies, practices, and programs that are structured within organisations to nurture participation and representation. It also focused on how women empowerment could be stimulated in digital jobs, role of young women entrepreneurs in addressing social, economic and cultural barriers preventing exploration of nonconventional roles and responsibilities in India.
Vaishali Nigam Sinha, Chief Sustainability, CSR and Communications Officer, ReNew Power & Chair, GES 2020, added, “2020 marks 25 years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration. However achieving gender equality continues to remain one of our foremost challenges. This year’s theme for the summit – India Inc. for Generation Equality: A decade for action – beautifully sums the goal before us in the coming decade. As we move closer to 2030 it is imperative for India Inc. to expedite the process of achieving generation equality, so that we as a nation are able to reap the social and economic benefits of greater participation of women in the labour force.”
In the context of value chain operations, women are more disadvantaged than men. Female labour-force participation in India has declined from 34% in 2006 to 24.8% in 2020 and seen as a significant deterrent. Skilling of female workforce in primary sectors is of utmost importance. In agricultural sector, women need to build their capacities to understand the end-to-end integrated agricultural value chain. Gender stereotypes and lack of infrastructure has traditionally sidelined women from core manufacturing functions. As a result, not many are able to reach leadership roles. The companies need to ensure policies and procedures are made to adapt to various life changes in their employees including maternity, changing care needs, dual career couples and continuity.
It is the need of the hour that public policy and corporate policies incorporate the various gender related barriers in India to ensure effective solutions. Gender mainstreaming goes beyond developing separate women’s projects within work programmes or women’s components within existing activities in the work programmes. It requires attention to gender perspectives as an integral part of all activities across all programmes. This involves putting gender perspectives as the central frame of thought to all policy development, research, advocacy, development, implementation and monitoring of norms and standards and planning, implementation and monitoring of projects.