EU: Over 140 organisations call for gender-responsive corporate sustainability legislation
The European Commission’s proposal for a directive could represent a groundbreaking step forward in minimising the negative impacts of businesses. However, the draft text fails to integrate a gender lens and risks leaving women behind. One month after its release, over 80 organisations criticised the Commission’s gender-blind approach.
In December 2022, the Council further restricted women’s rights and even eliminated the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women from the directive’s scope. EU ministers ignored the fact that exploitation, violence, pollution, and other abuses have different and disproportionate effects on women and groups facing marginalisation. Many women are further discriminated against based on intersecting identities such as age, ethnicity, migration status and/or other factors.
Any legislative initiative that attempts to regulate business conduct must address such gendered and intersecting impacts, especially considering that in many sectors, such as textiles and agriculture, women make up the majority of the workforce.
With key votes in the European Parliament and the trilogue negotiations approaching, it is crucial for all three EU institutions to seize this opportunity and ensure that the directive is effective and gender-responsive.
The 146 undersigned organisations from around the world are calling on the EU to address these alarming shortcomings, fight gender inequality and intersectional discrimination in global value chains, and make a positive difference in many lives around the world.
Our collective asks:
- Explicitly recognise that the adverse impacts of corporate activities are not gender neutral
- Cover the entire value chain
- Cover companies of all sizes
- Ensure women’s rights are protected
- Ensure access to justice
- Require that companies implement gender-responsive stakeholder engagement
- Ensure companies’ risk identification processes are gender sensitive
- Require the collection and use of disaggregated data
- Ensure companies’ remediation processes are gender responsive
- Ensure gender-responsive purchasing practices