Gender equality is a fundamental human right. Yet despite progress, women and girls around the world do not fully experience equal rights and their potential as economic, social and sustainable development change-agents remains untapped. Empowering women and girls helps promote economic growth, expands social development and establishes more stable and just societies.
Women’s economic empowerment benefits both women and children and is central to the health and social development of families, communities and nations. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) highlights women’s empowerment as an important development objective, in and of itself, and stresses the relevance of gender equality to addressing a wide range of global challenges. Furthermore, research shows investing in women and girls can lead to increases in productivity, organizational effectiveness, return on investment and higher consumer satisfaction.
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Standard Chartered is a leading international banking group. Many of the locations in which they operate are low income countries with high levels of gender inequality. The bank is therefore taking action to make positive social and economic contributions. Since 2006, they’ve supported girls, to take on leadership roles in their communities through the Goal program.
“We are asking ourselves:
‘How can we use the bank’s resources to help these girls reach their aspirations?’” Natasha Kwakwa, Program Director, Goal Standard Chartered In this Deep Dive, we delve deeper into the Goal program in order to understand its background story and key features. The insights are based on interviews with company representatives and publicly available resources. As part of our research on corporate children’s rights programs, we have also developed a guide for companies: “Corporate Children’s Rights Programs – Guidance and Best Practice”.
Businesses, investors and organisations alike need to understand how their actions impact children’s rights across the globe. The Children’s Rights and Business Atlas, developed with UNICEF, is the first comprehensive resource to guide companies in assessing risks to children within industry sectors and regions of operation.
The Global Child Forum on South America, held on 4 April 2017 in São Paulo, Brazil, brought together leaders from business, civil society and government to address the issue of “Investing in Every Child”. The South America Forum, the 9th for the organisation, brought together over 300 delegates to discuss the current state of children’s rights in the region and call upon business to take concrete actions in their business to create an inclusive economy – one that is equitable and creates opportunities for all.
This year’s Global Child Forum welcomed heads of state and heads of companies, leaders from civil society and learners from across South America and beyond. All came together with the goal of providing the region’s children with the best possible path to productive adulthood. All came together with the belief that the business sector is key to achieving that goal. Nearly 400 delegates gathered in the FIESP building on Avenida Paulista in São Paulo, its soaring modernist architecture a fitting backdrop for tackling a far-reaching children’s rights agenda. Read the Forum report — full of inspiration, ideas for action and case stories.
Some medium-sized enterprises in Latin America and the Caribbean are putting in place paternity packages that give their working fathers time to invest in their children. Marcelo Ber, Regional Child Rights and Business Focal Point for UNICEF Latin America, talks to new father, Rodrigo, on why spending time with his baby daughter is a valued employee benefit - for the short-term and long-term.
The case study explores IKEA’s commitments to children’s rights. The study looks into how IKEA went from being a company which did not mention children (or their rights) to making them central stakeholders of their company. IKEA is also an advocate, both internally and externally, of the Children’s Rights and Business Principles.
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