The seven women's empowerment principles: Equality does mean business!
Have you ever heard Women Leaders Network (WLN)?
I attended for the first time the 15th APEC Women Leaders Network (WLN) in Tokyo, 19-21 September 2010, which conducted at Keio Plaza Hotel.
There were about 600 participants, speakers and including women Ministers from Taiwan and Japan. Most participants were coming from private sectors, few international organizations and some were from government (Ministry women). Total member countries are 21 within Asia and the Pacific regions.
From my country, we are ten persons altogether; where four of them were from private.
MDG no. 3 promotes women's empowerment and gender equality since 2000. Yet we haven't seen consistent and prominent efforts in national building for promoting gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and community.
The United Nations Development Fund for women (UNIFEM) and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC), in collaboration with ILO, BPW International and the San Fransisco Department on the status of women; have considered the important of a 'gender lens' in business within integrated corporate policies and networks of stakeholders to support the process within civil societies. The women's empowerment principles is launched to help companies tailor existing policies and practices to support women's empowerment.
It is noted that aspects of social, economic and political environment made the partnerships play important role that may inspire and intensify the efforts to bring women advancement in all levels of living.
For companies this is leading the way - putting principles into practices. What is the meaning to us?
As VOF ladies, using Web 2.0, we may watch, observe the progress and getting involved in creating tools and push forward the implementation. Good/best practices; initiative and creativity; as well as own experiences as the subject - not as an object which mostly reported by implementor.
We congratulate the progress - a landmark and framework to work more systematic within women leaders network.
Here are the seven principles - Equality means business.
1. Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality
2. Treat all women and men at work - respect and support human rights and nondiscrimination.
3. Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers.
4. Promote education, training and professional development for women.
5. Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women.
6. Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy.
7. Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality.
In reality, as heard from women rural's life, small women's business, struggling from the home, street and politic arena; these are not easy. We are facing culture, social stratification, lack of resources and political constraints.
In addition, it is noted, from most successful women in business - they made it because of the men's support, due to men's network; so that they become CEO, President, Director, Owner of Cafe, Politician and so on.
This is true; maybe due to all decision makers are mostly controlled by men. We need more women as decision- makers; however we are not even sure whether these women supporting women or the men they are followed.
Women in rural, adolescent girls - they might not knowing their rights; we as VOF ladies may help them to understand their rights to education, to speak up, to health, to development and so on. So many barriers, from external and also within internal women's network; the above successful women had chose men as their peer. What about us?
I think the best is working with men as partners - no need to put segmented principles; let's fight for our rights!
We know that in reality actually women have made a lot of products though in silence, and these could be some changes if we put it into system; thus we have to sound it more with voices, choices and forces!
Let's move it on - we have the umbrella; let's check it out whether we can make it together!