Gender discrimination - an introduction

Below are select introductory materials on business and gender discrimination.  Further reports from a wide range of sources are in the "Gender discrimination" section of this site.

Key international standards

Universal Declaration of Human Rights: articles 2, 7 and 23.2


International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights: articles 3, 20.2 and 26


Human Rights Committee: General Comments 4, 18 and 28


International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: article 2.2


Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women


Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women: General Recommendation 24


International Labour Organization (ILO) Tripartite Declaration of Principles Concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy [PDF]: articles 21-23


ILO Convention 100: Convention Concerning Equal Remuneration for Men and Women Workers for Work of Equal Value


ILO Convention 111: Convention Concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation


ILO Declaration on Fundamental Rights and Principles at Work: article 2(d)


Key reports & guidance

Labour market discrimination still a big problem in OECD countries, OECD, Jul 2008

Global Employment Trends for Women 2008, International Labour Organization (ILO), Mar 2008

State Responsibilities to Regulate and Adjudicate Corporate Activities under the United Nations’ core Human Rights Treaties - Individual Report on the United Nations Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women [PDF], Prepared for the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises, With the support of The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, September 2007

Because I am a Girl:  The State of the World's Girls in 2009.  Girls in the Global Economy:  Adding It All Up, Plan International, September 2009

World Economic Forum Launches New Gender Gap Index Measuring Inequality Between Women And Men In 58 Countries, Middle East North Africa Financial Network (MENAFN) May 2005

[PDF] World Report 2009 - Employment Discrimination against Women [scroll to pg. 430] [Ukraine], Human Rights Watch, 14 Jan 2009

Concerns, company responses & non-responses

The Resource Centre invites companies to respond to allegations of misconduct.  Below are examples of allegations and company responses regarding gender discrimination.  We also indicate when a company has not responded.

China: Report by Sunday Times (UK) alleges labour abuses at adidas suppliers in Fuzhou, including Shunda factory, Apr 2008.  Response from adidas.

Poland: International food workers’ union (IUF) alleges sexual harassment at PepsiCo plant, Jul 2005. Response from PepsiCo.

Poland: Labour groups protest allege anti-union activities & sexual harassment at Frito-Lay food plant (part of PepsiCo), Apr 2006. Response from PepsiCo.

Positive steps by companies

Global: IFC & Global Reporting Initiative launch guide on gender & sustainability reporting - full report includes examples of reporting practices by Banco Bradesco, Grasim, ITC, Nike, Vattenfall, Wipro, Woolworths Holdings, Yuhan Kimberly.

Global: Manpower receives recognition for promoting women in the workplace.

Argentina: Manpower to continue with activities supporting labour inclusion of women in jail. [Spanish only]

Czech Republic: Unicredit Bank launches program to encourage gender equality in the workplace.

Saudi Arabia: Increasing numbers of women enter business - Cisco appoints its first female account manager in Saudi Arabia.

Singapore:  National Trades Union Congress praises UBS and local firm The Event Company for policies towards pregnant women & mothers.

Spain: Banco Santander becomes the first financial entity to sign a plan for equality between men and women. [Spanish only]

Spain: Caja Navarra launches "maternity protocol" to ensure equal opportunities among its female employees. [Spanish only]

Spain: Division of FCC signs equality plan that covers 35,000 workers & includes protection against sexual harassment. [Spanish only]

Spain: El Corte Inglés to promote awareness of gender violence and to facilitate access to work for victims of violence. [Spanish only]

Spain: Ferrovial launches gender equality plan in its construction companies. [Spanish only]

USA: DiversityInc announces "Top 50 companies for diversity" – top 5 companies include Coca Cola.

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