The round table devoted to this topic was held on March 13 at the Public Parliament Center of Moscow at the initiative of the Commissioner for Human Rights in Moscow and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, together with the Regional Forum for the Development of the Moscow Women’s Women’s Movement and with the support of the national network of UN GC Network Russia.
Issues of gender equality, career guidance and employment, access to the labor in the digital market, business opportunities, respect for the rights of women in the service, in the field of education and science, domestic violence, single-parent families, modern corporate practices in the field of protecting women's rights were discussed by European and Russian experts in the field of the problems of modern women, deputies of the Moscow City Duma, as well as representatives of business, creative intelligentsia and leaders of various public organizations tion of Moscow.
Over the past decades, in particular the 25 years since the adoption of the Beijing Declaration, the world has come closer to gender equality between men and women. In many professions that were once inaccessible to women, they now occupy leadership positions. More than 140 countries guarantee gender equality in the constitution; more than 150 countries have passed laws on sexual harassment. “However,” said Rashid Aluash, responsible for the joint program of the Russian Federation and the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, “we still need to fight for women's rights. Despite the efforts made by all interested parties, there is not a single country in the world that could declare that issues related to the advancement of women are fully resolved. In this regard, the UN constantly encourages all countries to continue to pay close attention to gender in all its manifestations. This should be our common responsibility”.
The best corporate practices in the context of this UN call during the round table were presented by the participants of the UN Global Compact - Severstal (Natalya Poppel) and Vimpelcom (Evgenia Chistova).
Leadership corporate strategies today include a range of issues and problems that were previously considered additional, secondary, not directly related to the long-term success of the business - anti-corruption, supply chain, business ethics, stakeholder satisfaction, non-financial reporting and others. The theme of human rights in general and the rights and well-being of women and girls, and the theme of gender equality in particular, more and more occupy a special place. Over the past twenty years, several initiatives have been launched that have contributed to the transformation of business thinking in this context: the Global Compact itself since 2000; Calvert Principles (2004) - the first comprehensive corporate code of conduct for gender equality and investment for women's rights and opportunities; UN Women (2010) - a subsidiary body of the UN General Assembly; Principles for the Empowerment of Women - WEPs (Women’s Empowerment Principles, 2010) - 7 recommendations for businesses aimed at empowering women in the workplace, markets and society; Ring the Bell for Gender Equality (2014) - the global action of stock market and, of course, the Sustainable Development Goals (2015) - all the SDGs as an interrelation of aspects of the global agenda and specifically SDG 5 - Gender Equality.
A leadership business approach today in this area assumes that a business sees, understands and evaluates the evidence and systemic barriers women and girls face around the world associated with their influence: violence, harassment, pay inequality, retardation of careers, unpaid types labor, child labor and coercion (in this case, girls), etc .; knows how to assess the consequences and takes public obligations to minimize them. Such companies recognize the value of actively supporting women throughout their business, from the boardroom to the supply chain in crisis societies and regions, as well as the importance of involving women in the economy, entrepreneurship, business life and governance in the context of the SDGs. The economic rationale for gender equality is obvious to them, and this is not unfounded. Morgan Stanley recently reported that the annual income for enterprises with the highest proportion of women is 2.8% higher than for the least diverse firms. According to a study by the International Labor Organization (ILO), boards of directors with 30–39% of women are 18.5% more likely to improve business results. Global studies show that 30% of women in leadership positions represent a critical mass and an important turning point when the benefits of gender diversity lead to better results for shareholders and stakeholders.
Companies all over the world come up with initiatives and projects to ensure gender equality, implementing projects aimed at involving women in entrepreneurship, facilitating access to finance and investment, identifying the connection of correct gender policies with increasing productivity and competitiveness, and others, raising awareness of business innovations that accelerate the empowerment of women and have a real impact on their quality of life, finding ways to stimulate partnership changes relations and others However, not many companies are still taking the necessary next steps to fulfill these obligations by implementing, monitoring and reporting on progress towards gender equality. According to the report of the Global Gender Gap of the World Economic Forum for 2020, bridging the gender gap in the economy will take 257 years. These are ten generations of women. This is not only a serious injustice and violation of the basic principles of human rights, but also missed opportunities: gender equality is an important factor in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. To bridge the economic gender gap, the gap between commitment and action must be bridged. To stimulate this process, the UN Global Compact is currently launching Target Gender Equality, the new UNGC program that aims to ensure at least 30 percent participation of women in top management and oversight boards; ensuring targeted gender equality; to ensure that the views and voices of women are adequately represented in the process of making corporate decisions, thereby transforming corporate governance and leadership to more effectively achieve the SDGs. In 2021, the program will be launched in Russia at the site of the UN GС Network Russia.