4th Global Forum

Business for Gender Equality

4th Global Forum on Business for Gender Equality and the Future of Work and the 2030 Agenda, 27-28 February 2018, Santiago, Chile

Ms. Deborah France-Massin
Ms. Deborah France-Massin, Director, ILO Bureau for Employers' Activities (ACT/EMP), attended the 4th Global Forum on Business for Gender Equality in Santiago organized by the government of Chile and UNDP, with ILO and UN WOMEN. This Forum brought together business leaders, governments, academia and trade unions, to discuss how to improve gender gaps in the workplace, share innovative practices and highlight the role of the business sector as a key player in advancing gender equality, towards the achievement of the 2030 Agenda.

In her presentation, Ms. France-Massin emphasized that gender equality at the workplace is not only the right thing to do, but also the smart thing to do. She reinforced the findings of a growing body of research which confirms that utilizing the skills and talent of both men and women improves the bottom line for enterprises and for society in general. She also discussed ILO ACT/EMP's global research on Women in Business and Management: Gaining momentum (2015), which assesses the situation, trends and challenges related to promoting women in senior management and board levels through a world-wide survey of 1,300 companies. Critically, ILO ACT/EMP will release an updated global report in 2019 that provides updated statistics and continues to track progress of how companies in emerging markets are faring.
 
The new report will be based on an expanded global survey reaching over 12,000 companies in more than 70 countries. Ms. France-Massin shared preliminary results of the research conducted to date. These include a positive correlation between companies that implement initiatives on gender diversity at leadership levels and improved business outcomes, enhanced ability to attract and retain talent, and improved company reputation. Additionally, the top three most effective human management systems that would enable more women to break into the "glass ceiling"  are gender equality measures in recruitment, retention and promotion; dedicated executive training; and flexible working hours to enable better work-life balance.
 
In her closing statement, Ms. France-Massin highlighted that national employers' organizations have a strategic and critical role to play in encouraging their company members to tap into the best possible talent. Equally important is for employers' organizations to "walk the walk"  within their own structures and show business leadership. To this extent, ILO ACT/EMP will continue to work with constituents to provide a rich knowledge-base of research, tools and guides, and provide a strong evidence-base for employers' organizations to take the agenda forward.