Private sector has long been discarded as an independently functioning and "careless" sector that ignores the root problems faced by society and instead only focuses on the profits it can reap through trading goods and services with the society or the consumers by and large. Over the years, the private sector has shown an unprecedented interest in women empowerment topics, a trend that has been fanned by the development sector.
In fact, rarely does the public service community (read: NGOs) regard the private sector as a partner in advancing women's empowerment. Their charge is that corporate activities centering on women's empowerment are hogwash, limited to boardroom meetings.
However, these assumptions are becoming increasingly stale as businesses develop ambitious agendas on women's empowerment in the emerging markets where they operate.
Rightly so, businesses can be formidable harbingers of positive changes as they weave women's empowerment into corporate strategies, and thus complement the work done by NGOs and governments. Down below are some ways through which businesses can bolster women empowerment drive around the world.
Promoting Jobs for Women
The foremost aim of a business should be to promote decent, empowering and lucrative jobs for women throughout the value chain. Besides providing ample opportunities for their growth, training and development is an added bonus. According to studies, hiring women in good corporate positions can remarkably drive a business's success by allowing it to attract and get hold of the best talent available.
Retaining the finest talent is not only crucial to the foundation for operational excellence and innovation, but also for stability of supply. Moreover, there are some additional windfalls that can be attained by ensuring that female employees are healthy, respected, and well-paid. Some windfalls range from reduced absenteeism and high productivity rate to cordial relations between workers and management!
Designing Women-Centric Products and Services
If a business is keen on addressing women's unique needs, this is a must! After all, businesses do play a pivotal role in providing women-centric goods and services that help women increase their mobility and potential, as well as improve their living standards considerably.
This is why a company in the manufacturing domain must design their products accordingly without deviating from the core of the product. Likewise, development teams should stress on how their technologies, goods, and services can offer benefits to women. The sole objective of the product development teams should be to reach out to as many women possible via innovative distribution channels, even in remote communities. Moreover, studies suggest that when women's decision-making and spending power increase, they can tremendously affect consumer trends, which can have some serious repercussions on the childcare, apparel, education, financial services, consumer durables, healthcare, and food healthcare sectors.
Partnerships with Local Businesses
To fully integrate the objective of women's empowerment in the company's manifesto, tie-ups with local businesses are a must, especially in developing countries. For instance, a company can facilitate clinic services for local women employees or the local communities and contribute to CSR directly. It is very vital for companies operating out of developing countries that play the two pronged role of suppliers and distributors for international and domestic markets to promote healthy employment practices. For instance, work ethics, such as equal pay for equal work, gender diversity, safe workplaces free from harassment and discrimination, and a conducive environment for women to advance, can go a long way in the success of a business in a foreign country.
Once a company has identified women empowerment as its priority and firmly integrated women empowerment into its core business activities, the possibilities of a new era of individual prosperity, shared opportunity, gender equality, and the development of society become endless.
Mayank is a content writer at Business ecommerce portal, avid reader, musician, and dandy YouTuber who loves everything about the realms of the Internet. In this article he talks about the importance of businesses in women empowerment. You can always reach out to him on Twitter @MayanktheKazam