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CSR and Gender Equality

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a concept used most commonly in business management and economics and refers to the way that companies can integrate social and environmental concerns into business operations.

What is CSR?

CSR is often understood as a self-regulating business model that helps companies be accountable to themselves, their stakeholders and the public. By practicing CSR, companies are conscious of, and maintain the balance between, these three aspects of society -- economic, social and environmental -- while also addressing the expectations of shareholders and stakeholders. Key issues that can be targeted through CSR include environmental management, eco-efficiency, responsible sourcing, stakeholder engagement, labour standards and working conditions, social equity, human rights, good governance, and the promotion of gender equality in the workplace. A properly driven CSR programme allows for a variety of competitive advantages such as enhanced access to capital and markets, increased sales and profits, cost savings, improved productivity and quality, efficient use of Human Resources and finally, better decision making and risk management processes.

The Triple Bottom Line approach has been used to measure a corporation's commitment to CSR. It ensures that companies measure their social and environmental impacts, along with their financial performances, rather than focusing purely on generating profit. It involved three features:

  • Profit: A company's financial performance

  • People: A company's social focus and commitment to the society

  • Planet: A company's environmental impacts.

CSR has been seen as a key way for businesses and companies to achieve and promote gender equality. Oftentimes, this is seen through equal access to job opportunities and the equality of treatment for all genders.

How does CSR relate to gender equality in the workplace?

Gender equality in the workplace has been defined as enabling employees of all genders to have access to the same rewards, opportunities and resources at a company. This includes things like equal pay and benefits for comparable roles with similar responsibilities, equal opportunities for promotions and career progression and an equal consideration of needs [1]. The benefits of workplace gender equality are wide ranging, including, the promotion of a positive company culture, more innovation and creativity, improved conflict resolutions and the building of a good and respected company reputation.