#PressingForChange in SMEs: How gender equality equals improved productivity

SCORE Training for improved productivity and working conditions in SMEs, ensures gender is a core component of all interventions – Why? Equality for all = success for all.

Feature | 08 March 2018
Between 2014 and 2017, SCORE Training was provided to 7,615 female employees from Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) around the world. This represents 36% of all SME staff that received SCORE’s in-classroom Training.

Gender equality is key to achieving the ILO mandate of social justice through decent work – providing conditions of freedom, equity, security and human dignity. SCORE Training is promoted and delivered in a mix of male and female-dominated sectors, so it was imperative that we developed our interventions with a fully embedded gender strategy including gender mainstreamed practices, and mandatory sex-disaggregated data to incentivize balanced participation."

Michael Elkin, Chief Technical Advisor, ILO SCORE Programme
In most countries, the majority of workers work in small or medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). With such a predominant role in employment and job creation, and acknowledging that almost one third of formal SMEs are owned by women, it comes as no surprise that addressing the needs of both women and men, by supporting gender equality, is a core component of the SCORE Programme.

Since 2010, SCORE’s efforts have resulted in an average of 2-3 gender responsive interventions being implemented in SCORE Trained SMEs. Such interventions have included upgrading privacy in changing areas, creating family-friendly workplace policies and communicating a zero tolerance for harassment. Both women and men have responded favourably to these interventions, and recognise the benefit of a more equal work environment, “Before we thought women was the person that should stay at home,” Ever Martinez, Member, Nuragro (coffee). “Before they had us relegated, abandoned. Now they give us more importance, we are part of the board of directors; we can participate in difference events, in business. There is equality in opportunities and opinions”, Milena Meneces, Member Nuragro (coffee).

As the SCORE Programme enters its third Phase, we again strive for better and more gender equality interventions. On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2018, SCORE joins the international effort to #PressForChange.

What’s next?

In 2018, the SCORE Programme will become the first ILO Project to introduce a gender responsive budget – “collecting budget revenues and allocating expenditures that address persistent inequalities between men and women.” A pilot will be undertaken in two SCORE countries – Indonesia and Bolivia, were information regarding the expenditure and staff time spent on gender related work, will be aggregated and reviewed.

In Colombia, where 93% of employment is generated by SMEs, SCORE Training will introduce a NEW Supply Chain Gender Equality Model (MIG SCORE) to inform the implementation of practices in gender equality for SMEs. Introduced in 4 steps the model focuses on 5 key issues – voice equality, work-life balance, inclusive hiring, equal pay for equal work and harassment identification and prevention. Participating SMEs will receive 8 months of training on how to implement key best practices in gender equality for decent work and improved productivity.

Globally, trainers - many of whom have already received additional training on gender equality and non-discrimination, will continue to drive equal participation in SCORE Training; reporting sex disaggregated data, and encouraging gender responsive interventions at the enterprise level.

#PressForChange with SCORE

At every level, evidence has shown that equal participation for men and women, is better for business. SCORE Training will continue to support gender equality on the factory floor by raising awareness of gender issues to drive pro-equality change. Equality for all = success for all.

Read about some of the Gender Responsive interventions implemented in SCORE factories!