The UN wants companies to pay more attention to women’s sexual health

The UN wants companies to pay more attention to womens

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    What if financing contraception, preventing harassment, or even offering free hygienic products became objectives stated and measured by companies, as is already the case for reducing greenhouse gas emissions?

    This is what the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) is proposing on Thursday, which is unveiling a series of indicators allowing management to quantify and evaluate their policies related to women’s sexual and reproductive health.

    So far, these topics are only marginally represented in company reporting on environmental, social and governance (ESG) indicators, such as CO2 emissions. And above all, there is no standardized methodology to report on it.

    UNFPA, with the consulting firm Accenture, has therefore developed what the organization presents as the first analysis grid for “measure the performance of organizations on a number of sexual and reproductive issues” as “prevention of sexual harassment in the workplace and support for employees in the area of ​​family planning“, according to a press release.

    Among the thirty elements that can be included in the analysis: access to (and financing of) care related to pregnancy and birth; access to contraception and fertility treatments; harassment prevention; or even access to services related to sexually transmitted infections and the free provision of hygiene products.

    The data could serve as criteria for choosing a supplier or deciding whether or not to invest in a company, in the same way as environmental data, the designers argue.

    Women make up nearly 40% of the global workforce” but “the average workplace was not built with women in mind“, underlined Natalia Kanem, executive director of UNFPA, quoted in the press release.

    Healthy employees are productive employees“and, for female employees, sexual and reproductive health must not be neglected, she detailed in January to AFP, on the sidelines of the annual meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos.

    According to studies cited by UNFPA in a report released Thursday, investing in sexual and reproductive health “can lead to up to 22% more productivity, a 62% reduction in absences and 23% fewer departures“.

    In total, “some 190 million women work in global supply chains“, depending on the fund. Of which a majority “in countries where women’s needs for health services are not met“.