Gender Equity at Work: Seal Finalized by UN Women & SAI

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Gender Equity at Work: Seal Finalized by UN Women & SAI

SAI & UN Women finalize the Gender Equity Seal to promote fair treatment of men and women in the workplace and supply chain
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Gender Equity at Work! SAI & @UN_Women finalize Gender Equity Seal to promote fair treatment at work

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012 - 4:00pm

Gender equality is a human right and a business imperative.  Despite a commitment to gender equity on the corporate agenda, however, progress has not matched aspirations.

In July 2012, SAI, in partnership with UN Women, finalized the Gender Equity Seal (GES) as a new auditable standard and certification system. The GES leverages SAI's extensive experience in management systems for social performance.

GES provides a 'gender lens'- a specialized standard -that can be easily integrated into a company's standard audit whether against an external or company code. It is anticipated that GES will primarily be used on a business to business level with the potential for expansion to a consumer label.

In addition to performance criteria, GES details specific criteria for policies, procedures, training and other management systems components. The intent is to provide companies with a clear roadmap to measure and improve their capacity to, and ultimately, demonstrate their progress in, implementing gender equity policies with a view to ultimately earning  GES certification.

The GES was drafted and refined after extensive public consultation, including a multi-stakeholder survey and one-on-one interviews. There was strong confirmation of the rigor and applicability of GES. Below are a few of the hundreds of comments received in a public survey to elicit people's views on the value of a gender certification system:

"This is an important and much awaited initiative. High time that companies inculcate gender equity principles across their supply chain."

"The power of GES comes from a widespread application..."

"A mechanism to ensure mandatory compliance with such standards on gender equity needs to be developed...."

UN Women is now deliberating SAI's recommendations for the roll-out of the certification system on a regional and global scale.  Currently, the standard is publicly available, and companies can use it to benchmark their existing systems and performance.

GES has, as its foundations, the relevant ILO Conventions and international human rights instruments. It includes criteria on equal pay and equal treatment in relation to recruitment, employment and termination of contracts as well as provision of a safe working environment with an effective sexual harassment policy, and flexible, nondiscriminatory work practices.

The GES complements other initiatives, such as the Women's Empowerment Principles' Reporting Guidance (modeled on the GRI framework), which was launched at the 4th Annual Women's Empowerment Principles Event in March this year as well as the Calvert Women's Principles.

About UN Women: In July 2010, the United Nations General Assembly created UN Women, the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women. The creation of UN Women came about as part of the UN reform agenda, bringing together resources and mandates for greater impact. It merges and builds on the important work of four previously distinct parts of the UN system, which focused exclusively on gender equality and women's empowerment. Website:   

View the GES standard


Joleen Ong
Social Accountability International
Keywords: Business & Trade | Gender | Standards | discrimination | genderequity | unitednations | unwomen | women