Bridging gender gaps globally has become one of the cardinal principles of the United Nations (UN) and the United Nations Development Program (UNDP). The SDG 5 for Gender Equality and the broader 2030 agenda are calling the global community into action to address major gender inequality and development challenges of our time. Although it is becoming increasingly clear that inclusiveness yields better results, yet countries still struggle and suffer from gender inequality related challenges.
To close persistent gender gaps in the workplace, mainstream gender and transform the organizational culture, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) is supporting UNDP Country offices, private sector and governments to develop a Gender Equality Seal Certification Programme, through which they can recognize UNDP country offices and Private and Public companies for attaining specific standards that promote gender equality and empower women within their institutions. By successfully completing the certification process, companies and organizations are awarded a Gender Equality Seal that officially recognizes their achievement of gender equality in the workplace.
Steps to earn the Gender Equality Seal
· A company/organization that wants to earn the gender equality seal needs to formulate a written commitment to gender equality.
· Establish a gender equality committee
· Train senior management and staff on gender equality
· Undertake an internal organizational assessment of their policies and practices,
· Develop a company-wide policy and plan of action for gender equality with clear timelines for achievement of targets; this implies a clear baseline of where the company/organization stands currently; where it want to be in the future ( outlined through clear indicators) and how it intends to get there ( annual targets)
· Implement the gender equality plan of action
· Conduct an external of the progress achieved
· achieve official government recognition and certification of the gender equality seal
UNDP The Gambia wins Silver certification award
With a final score of 72%, fulfilling 28 out of 39 benchmarks, The Gambia Country Office achieved a SILVER level certification in the 2019-2020 round of the Gender Seal. This is a significant improvement from a baseline of 44% in the 2018 assessment.
Supported by a strong CPD and other robust internal structures such as a Gender Seal team headed by the Deputy Resident Representative, a fully funded guiding action plan and inbuilt M&E framework, the results of Gender Equality Seal competition round 2019/2020, shows UNDP Gambia making significant improvements in transforming its own organizational culture and ensuring an equitable workplace. Through the annual Action Plan, the Gender Focal Team focused on maintaining awareness of the entire Country Office on gender equality principles and standards. Capacity building events were organized for staff, and office wide events that spurred discussion in sessions with LGBT community, prominent gender activitis and other sessions in which Civil Society Organizations share their experience of working on intersectionality of gender with themes such as women in politics.
At the national level the CO has promoted gender equality and women’s empowerment through building the technical gender capacity of inter-party and women’s caucuses in the National Assembly, supported the women’s national machinery to influence the decisions of the Constitutional Review Commission , facilitate a gendered participation and focus on issues of concern to women at the Truth, Reconciliation and Reparation Commission (TRRC) and Transitional Justice process. In addition, the CO has worked to mainstream gender in Gambia’s Security Sector Reform and trained the Gambia police unit on sexual and gender-based violence. Furthermore, links with private sector resulted in the creation of a Women’s Business Advocacy Group (WBAG) that is already making inroads in advocating for 30% quota of public procurement for women. Such gendered interventions organizationally and programmatically and across key government ministries and civil society resulted in the CO’s Silver accreditation.
Gender Equality Seal for Private Sector initiative.
The CO also employed strategic entry points on accelerating sustainable development solutions.Through its Gender for the Private sector global initiative, the UNDP CO is now partnering with the Gambia Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GCCI) and the University of The Gambia to mainstream gender equality in the private sector companies in The Gambia. Seven different private companies and the University of The Gambia have signed up for the pilot of the gender seal. The program will help private business companies identify and eliminate biases or practices that might create barriers to gender equality in the labour force and in academia.
The private sector accounts for a considerable majority of well-paying jobs worldwide. Without the engagement of private companies, global goals for gender equality in the workplace and women’s economic empowerment will never be accomplished. The private sector will contribute to this innovative means of accelerating gender equality that drives companies to move beyond traditional corporate social responsibility to combine profits with gender progress and going beyond traditional forms of corporate social responsibility (CSR) to advance gender development outcomes.