Best Ways for Businesses to Empower Women in Developing Countries
A series of reports provides businesses with help investing in women in developing countries by creating jobs and improving health care.
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Business for Social Responsibility (BSR), a global research and consulting firm that helps companies develop sustainable business strategies, has released a new research series on "Women and Sustainability," to provide companies that have operations in the developing world with best practices for investing in women. The series -- which identifies trends and provides an action plan for companies that want to invest in women as consumers, employees, community members and partners -- includes three separate reports on the topics of women's economic empowerment, health and responsible employment.
The report on women's economic empowerment discusses how companies can create jobs, invest in professional development for women and provide access to startup capital to help women build sustainable business communities in the developing world. The women's health report shows how better access to health care and health education allows women to participate more actively in the workforce, resulting in a strong return on investment for business (as high as $3 to every $1 invested). And the report on employing women responsibly discusses practices for promoting equal access and skills development, and explores how to reduce high turnover rates and increase female applicants.
The series also includes case study examples of how companies such as adidas and Cisco have implemented successful initiatives that invest in women in the workplace. "Investments in women have a multiplier effect, as women are more likely to reinvest in education, health and economic activities at the community level," said BSR's Racheal Yeager, coauthor of the series and manager of BSR's HERproject, a factory-based women's health initiative. "Companies can benefit from women's contributions to community stability, a talented and stable workforce, and market growth and innovation."