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Learning sessions underscored the role of the BCs in promoting gender equality in the workplace

News Stories /27 March 2023

Investing in Women (IW) held face-to-face learning sessions in Manila with key Business Coalition (BC) staff in February 2023, marking an important milestone in the transition to the next phase of the IW program. Over three days, representatives from the BCs and members of the IW team convened to discuss approaches and progress in championing workplace gender equality (WGE) in the region’s private sector.

In her opening remarks, First Secretary Georgina Harley-Cavanough from the Australian Embassy in Manila congratulated the BCs for leading the way for positive WGE change in their respective markets. This was followed by a discussion of how this work will be sustained and built on in the next phase of IW.

Highlights from the ensuing sessions included insights into the status of gender equality in BC member companies in the Philippines, Indonesia, Myanmar, and Vietnam and a vibrant discussion of strategies to engage the private sector on WGE and sustain momentum. Regression analysis of WGE data from the four countries emphasised the link between leadership and accountability as key drivers of WGE change in firms, with improvements in these areas being key to progress in women’s leadership, retention rates, promotion numbers, and overall gender balance.

Over the three-day event, the BCs shared examples of best practices from their work:

  • The Myanmar Business Coalition for Gender Equality (BCGE) shared their approach to WGE policy reviews, which has seen a significant uptick in the number of member companies with an Anti-Sexual Harassment Policy;
  • The Philippine Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (PBCWE) presented their approach to disability and LGBTQI+ inclusion as part of WGE assessments using the GEARS (Gender Equality Assessment Results and Strategies) tool;
  • The Vietnam Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (VBCWE) discussed employee perception surveys as part of GEARS; and
  • The Indonesia Business Coalition for Women Empowerment (IBCWE) presented data on six member companies that took a GEARS reassessment, with results showing overall improvements in WGE and the top three companies getting near-perfect scores across the GEARS focus areas – highlighting progress as well as the importance of data to inform approaches and track change over time.

Leveraging insights from data drawn from across the region can be a powerful tool to drive meaningful change in corporate behaviour. At the meeting, IW launched a tool to enable the BCs to show each company’s anonymized data in comparison to other companies in the region.

Moving forward, the next phase of the IW program will continue to build on this work to improve workplace gender equality in the private sector and increase women’s economic participation and leadership in the four markets.

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