How CSR Can Advance Gender Equity

Oct 13, 2017 12:45 PM ET
Campaign: CECP Insights Blog

How CSR Can Advance Gender Equity

In recent years, companies have increasingly focused their CSR efforts on creating opportunities for women and girls. CSR gender efforts often start with a focus on bringing women “up to speed” through trainings, hiring quotas, and scholarships. For example, in the financial services sector, a significant number of companies have some portion of their CSR portfolio dedicated to financial literacy for women around the world. These investments focus on issues ranging from household finances to entrepreneurial business skills to salary negotiations.

This type of education and capacity building is important. But if a woman cannot take out a loan without her husband’s approval, managing household finances remains out of reach. If social norms dictate that a woman cannot work outside the home or travel alone to other communities, she cannot use the business skills she’s developed to engage in the workforce. There is a limit to how effective individual-level interventions can be.

Going Beyond the Individual

We see leading companies and their partners going beyond programs that target individual women or girls and considering the relationships and systemic factors that influence women’s ability to thrive and succeed. CSR programs that strive to create gender equity must be thoughtfully and intentionally developed to consider complex social, economic, cultural, and political nuances, such as household decision-making dynamics, gender roles, and access to resources. The examples below illustrate the types of considerations, research, and collaboration necessary for holistic and long-lasting solutions.

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