Women, Business and Human Rights Blog Series

Human rights impacts stemming from business activities have a disproportionate effect on women and girls, who take the burden of negative socio-economic impacts alongside limited employment security, reduced guarantees of equal pay for equal work and a lack of tangible benefits. Non-discrimination and gender equality are core human rights principles, however, business activities and operations have often been indifferent to women’s rights and women's empowerment. 

Recent growth of the female labour force across textile and garment industries, among others, has not been wholly coupled with an awareness of exploitation that female workers face. Rather, business approaches to gender equality often sideline human rights, particularly in developing countries, precisely because these activities are seen to benefit from women’s subordinate position.

However, women and girls’ full economic empowerment can contribute hugely to both business and society. Marking Women’s History Month, this blog series looks to explore why women’s rights are inseparable from business and human rights. 

What has changed for women’s human rights and business? Why are feminists pushing for a binding treaty on transnational corporations and human rights? Why should corporations share gender-segregated pay information?

We collected these contributions during Women's History Month in March 2018.



Domestic work and workers in the Gulf: Invisible, Indispensable and Unrecognised

When it comes to the plight of migrant domestic workers – a largely feminised sector – the victim narrative prevails, with patriarchal policies in both sending and receiving countries seeking to ‘protect’ the worker from her own choices. 

Vani Saraswathi, Associate Editor and Director of Projects, Migrant-Rights.org 





Girls just want equal pay

Although women represent 50% of the global population, they are treated worse than men and are paid less...Women are second-class employees, while achieving gender equality would contribute $12trillion to the global GDP by 2025. 

Dr Elli Siapkidou, Director of Research, Equileap



Corporate Tax Incentives and Women's Rights

Corporate tax and women’s rights are inextricably linked because they expand or shrink government resources that could be invested in the public interest, and this has an impact on women.

Sanyu Awori, Programme Officer, IWRAW AP



Women, business and human rights: working towards a Binding Treaty with a gender perspective

Companies operating without consequence have a disproportionate effect on women. Situations like these could be minimised with an international treaty that obliges them to respond to their actions. 

Fernanda Hopenhaym, Executive Director, PODER



The "Pink Wash": what has changed for women's human rights and business?

The commitment to women’s empowerment in most cases translates into messages of self-esteem and self-improvement for working "mothers" and, a few times, of social transformation always associated with the consumption of their products. Women’s human rights are often limited to marketing strategies.

Eugenia López Uribe, Director, PODER