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The Fourth Global Forum on Business for Gender Equality identified achieving gender equality in the workplace as critical to achieving the SDGs.

The Forum’s website features a catalogue of solutions to accelerate gender equality.

The Forum also discussed UNDP’s ‘Gender Equality Seal’ programme, which certifies companies that have eliminated pay gaps, increased the number of women in decision-making roles and made progress in ending sexual harassment in the workplace.

28 February 2018: Participants at the Fourth Global Forum on Business for Gender Equality committed to promote gender equality in the workplace, including as a strategy to achieve the SDGs. The Forum outlined its commitment to eliminate gender gaps in the workplace in the ‘Call to Action of Chile.’

The UN Development Programme (UNDP) and the Government of Chile organized the Forum in partnership with the International Labour Organization (ILO) and UN Women. The event, which convened in Santiago, Chile, from 27-28 February 2018, focused on the theme ‘The Future of Work and the 2030 Agenda.’ Over 500 representatives from 39 countries, including more than 50 employers’ organizations and trade unions, attended the event.

The Forum addressed gender gaps in the workplace within the context of SDG 5 (gender equality) and SDG 8 (decent work and economic growth). SDG 5 includes target 5.1, to end all forms of discrimination against all women and girls everywhere, and target 5.5, to ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making. SDG target 8.5 aims to, by 2030, achieve full and productive employment and decent work for all women and men, including for young people and persons with disabilities and equal pay for work of equal value.

Participants shared progress and challenges related to achieving these SDG targets. The Gambia’s Vice President and Minister of Women’s Affairs, Fatoumata Jallow-Tambajang, reported that empowering women and enabling equal opportunities in the workforce is “a key pillar of our National Development Plan.” Jallow-Tambajang emphasized that businesses, from micro-credit and small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to large companies, are taking steps to reduce inequalities, boost productivity and improve the Gambia’s economies.

Achieving equality in the labor force will require addressing women’s disproportionate burden of unpaid care work.

Richard Barathe, UNDP, observed that women’s equality in the labor force could contribute US$28 trillion to the global economy by 2025. But, he noted, this will require efforts to address women’s disproportionate burden of unpaid care work, encourage women’s entry into the workforce and close the gender pay gap.

In the Call to Action of Chile, governments, the private sector and union members commit to “work every day” to promote equality and inclusion and to change working conditions to achieve greater equality between women and men. The signatories call on stakeholders to find innovative ways to apply lessons learned and to share the Forum’s messages on gender equity in their workplace and with other companies.

The Forum also discussed UNDP’s ‘Gender Equality Seal’ programme, which certifies companies that have eliminated pay gaps, increased the number of women in decision-making roles and made progress in ending sexual harassment in the workplace. UNDP supports partners in 17 countries around the world to meet gender equality targets.

The Forum’s website features a catalogue of solutions to accelerate gender equality. Solutions are organized around solutions to: eliminate the gender pay gap; promote labor inclusion in non-traditional sectors; build transformative partnerships; eradicate sexual harassment; promote women in business; foster women in leadership; and promote work-life balance.

On promoting labor inclusion in non-traditional sectors, UNDP describes a project that promoted the integration of women and girls in workplaces in Haryana, India, including a training program for women in the stainless steel sector. As a result, jobs opened in a sector that has not traditionally been an option for women in India. UNDP stresses that programmes focused on women “need not use a welfare approach” but can instead use a gender and development lens to focus on sustainable impact. [Forum Website] [UNDP Press Release on Opening] [UNDP Press Release on Closing] [Gender Seal] [Catalogue of Solutions] [UNDP Solution Example]

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