Posts tagged private sector
What’s in a Label? Lessons on Advancing Global Health Goals From Corporate Green Standards

As you walk through the supermarket, you’ve probably noticed labels like “Rainforest Alliance Certified,” “Fair Trade,” or “Green Seal.” These certifications were created to help consumers use their purchasing power to reward companies that treat workers fairly and limit their harm to the environment. What’s missing is health, particularly women’s health. Too often these standards focus narrowly on occupational safety rather than addressing broader, but relevant, health needs of workers.

Some advocates are trying to change that, arguing that the private sector can – through their operations and supply chains – have a major impact on gender equity and health issues like maternal, newborn, and child health; access to family planning; and reproductive health.

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4 ways for the private sector to support women’s health

Reflecting on what is needed to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals, I am struck by how much work is needed to secure the place of reproductive health in discussions on gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.

From the United States Chamber of Commerce forum to the U.N. Women and U.N. Global Compact Annual Women’s Empowerment Principles Event, so much of the agenda focuses on supporting and fostering women-owned businesses and entrepreneurship, increasing the representation of women on boards and in the C-suite, and encouraging girls and young women to pursue careers in STEM fields. There is no question that these initiatives are of critical importance.

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The Real Gamechanger for Women’s Empowerment Initiatives – Family Planning

The makeup of the workforce has changed worldwide. Increasingly, women have become a driving force in our global economy particularly in developing economies. Many institutions, including multinational companies – from Nike to Walmart to KPMG – have recognized the need to proactively expand economic opportunities for women by fostering entrepreneurship, strengthening financial literacy, and promoting women into management positions.  Yet, for all the emphasis on empowering women in business, there is a danger of undermining these vital efforts by ignoring a key enabling factor for women to take advantage of these opportunities – access to safe, voluntary family planning and reproductive health education and services. Such services remain largely ignored when business designs women’s empowerment programs and initiatives. 

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