Empowering Women at Work

Company policies and practices for gender equality

This document was prepared as part of a series of publications on key stakeholders’ illustrative practices on gender equality at work under the EU, UN Women and ILO project “Empowering women at work through responsible business conduct in G7 countries”. Although it has a particular focus on companies operating in G7 and EU countries, it can be of use to companies regardless of where they are located.

Over the last 20 years, equality between women and men in the world of work has seen some encouraging improvements, but there remains scope for further progress. The private sector, including employer and business membership organizations, plays an important role in accelerating progress on closing gender gaps in the workplace.

Women represent more than 50 per cent of the population worldwide, but only 45.3 per cent of women had a job in 2018. They accounted for less than 4 per cent of board chairs across nearly 7,000 companies in 44 countries in 2017. Therefore, it is crucial to examine how key players in the private sector can implement policies that promote a future of work that is decent by design and is anchored in genuine and substantive gender equality.

This document focuses on five key areas where companies can contribute:
- achievement of equal pay for work of equal value
- prevention and elimination of violence and harassment
- creating a harmonious work-life balance for both women and men
- equal representation of women in business and management roles
- investment in a future of work that works for women.