CPOW co-hosts UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights gender consultation
“Both states and companies should give adequate attention to women’s experiences of being impacted differently and disproportionately by business activities. A gender-sensitive approach is appropriate for all companies operating in all circumstances.” (Prof Surya Deva, UN Working Group).
The United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights gender consultation in Sydney on Applying the Gender Lens to the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights (Nov 14th and 15th), was hosted by RMIT CPOW in partnership with the Australian Human Rights Institute (UNSW) and the Australian Human Rights Commission. It was designed to inform the gender lens project of the UN Working Group by exploring significant challenges, as well as good practice, with respect to corporate human rights due diligence relating to the rights of women. The report of the Working Group will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2019.
The consultation included representatives from international organisations (OECD, UN Global Compact), past and present Australian Sex Discrimination Commissioners, the Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, as well as industry bodies (e.g. Minerals Council of Australia), national businesses, unions, civil society organisations, and academics.
Panellists provided practical recommendations on what it means to “protect, respect and remedy” the rights of women with respect to business impacts in: the workplace (equal pay and sexual harassment); supply chains; communities and the environment. Sector specific guidance was presented regarding: the care sector; the sex industry; mining and construction; and investment and finance.
RMIT partnership, developed by Dr Kate Grosser (SoM), involved organizing and co-hosting (Kate Grosser and Dr Shelley Marshall (GSBL)) and presentations from Kate, Shelley, Dr Meagan Tyler (SoM) and Prof Sara Charlesworth (SoM).
CPOW features on the website of the United Nations Human Rights Office of the High Commissioner, where further information about the project can be found: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Business/Pages/GenderLens.aspx
Additionally, on Nov 9th Dr Kate Grosser and Dr Meagan Tyler ran a workshop on violence against women and trafficking for sexual exploitation to inform the UN consultation. Workshop participants drafted a submission to the UN Working Group.
We gratefully acknowledge ECP funding (Global Business Innovation and Social Change) which facilitated this work.