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    Employer and business membership organizations make progress on gender equality but glass ceilings persist

    © August de Richelieu

    GENEVA (ILO News) – A growing number of national business organizations are improving gender equality internally, according to a new report by the International Labour Organization’s Bureau for Employers´ Activities (ILO-ACT/EMP) and the International Organisation of Employers (IOE). The next step for these organizations is to break glass ceilings so that more women can advance their careers and participate in decision-making.

    Women are well-represented overall among the staff of employer and business membership organizations (EBMOs), comprising 40 per cent or more of employees in 74 per cent of EBMOs. Yet women remain under-represented in decision-making positions; fewer than one in three (28 per cent) of EBMOs have achieved gender at managerial level, with 40 to 60 per cent of women managers. One in ten EBMOs have no women managers at all.

    Positively, the proportion of women on EBMO boards has increased, albeit starting from a low level. In 2017, 19 per cent of EBMOs said that women comprised at least 30 per cent of board members, compared to 26 per cent in 2023, an increase of seven per cent. Over the same period, the proportion of EBMOs with all-male boards declined by six per cent, from 11 to 5 per cent.

    “At the current rate of progress, it will take more than 63 years for women to comprise at least 30 per cent of all national EBMO boards. However, the Sustainable Development Agenda, adopted by UN Member States in 2015, sets a 2030 deadline for the achievement of gender equality,” said Deborah France-Massin, Director of ACT/EMP. “So, it’s time for more, better and faster action on gender equality, and EBMOs are fully on board.”

    Today, almost one in three (30 per cent) EBMOs is led by a woman. This bodes well for future progress on gender equality and diversity within EBMOs because women leaders act as role models for other female staff. According to the report, EBMOs with female Chief Executive Officers (CEO) are 25 per cent more likely to employ more than 40 per cent of women in managerial positions, compared to EBMOs with male CEOs.

    Importantly, nearly half (46 per cent) of EBMOs recognize the business benefits of gender equality. “Their initiatives have led to better business outcomes, including increased income, enhanced organizational reputation and a better ability to attract and retain talent,” said Anne Vauchez, Director of International and European Affairs, Mouvement des entreprises de France (MEDEF), and Chair of the IOE’s Gender, Equality and Diversity Policy Working Group.

    Even so, almost half (49 per cent) of EBMOs do not yet fully appreciate how their gender equality efforts are influencing their bottom line as they typically do not track impact. “It’s crucial that EBMOs track the impact of their gender equality initiatives, both to make sure these initiatives are making a difference but also to improve them,” said Roberto Suárez Santos, Secretary General of the IOE.

    These findings are especially important given the unparalleled influence that national EBMOs have in the private sector. They lead the business community by example and therefore play an important role in achieving gender equality and diversity.

    Yet EBMO action and influence on gender equality goes further. The vast majority (81 per cent) of EBMOs advocate for greater gender equality, working with national governments and workers’ organizations. Their advocacy priorities are equal pay for work of equal value (37 per cent of EBMOs), women in leadership positions (22 per cent), and diversity and inclusion in business settings (12 per cent).

    The report, Women in business: How employer and business membership organizations drive gender equality, is based on research carried out in 2023 involving 95 business associations in 87 countries.

    ILO-IOE event on Women in business:

    Join the International Labour Organization Bureau for Employers’ Activities (ILO-ACT/EMP) and the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) for a dialogue and virtual discussion on Women in business. Join us on 21 March 2024 from 13:00 to 14:30 CET as we delve into the insights of our new report, Women in business: How employer and business membership organizations drive gender equality.


    Jae-Hee Chang, Senior Relations/Technical Specialist, ILO Bureau for Employers’ Activities (ILO-ACT/EMP)

    Akustina Morni, Director for Employment, Skills and Diversity, International Organisation of Employers (IOE)

    We acknowledge Source link for the information.



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