Human Rights and Gender Equality in the Context of Business Activities

Started in June 2018

Background

The UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (UN working group) has launched a consultation process to apply a 'gender lens' to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

While it is commonly accepted that businesses have legal obligations to respect the equal rights of women and men within the workplace, the precise contours of corporate obligations in relation to the wider economic, social, cultural impact of their activities remain unclear. There is, however, an increasing body of jurisprudence that highlights the gendered impact of corporate activities beyond the workplace.

Objective

This project aims to support the UN working group’s consultation process and thus contribute the promotion and protection of human rights and gender equality in relation to the business sector via research on international human rights law (IHRL) and policies related to gender equality guarantees and their application to business activities, and the organization of a global conference in Geneva.

Research

The research will focus on IHRL and policy related to gender equality guarantees and their application to business activities. It will outline existing gender equality provisions in IHRL and in policy documents that are most relevant to the context of corporate activities.

As the area of business responsibilities takes in a huge range of sectors - manufacturing, financial services, the digital economy, extractive industries, hospitality, agriculture, etc. - the project will provide a brief overview of the ways in which a gender and women’s rights perspective could be applied within various sectors without seeking to comprehensively cover the entire gambit of business activities in every field.

Results of the research will be published in November 2018 and will be presented at the annual Forum on Business and Human Rights and at the working group’s global conference on the application of a 'gender lens' to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Global Conference

The Geneva Academy will collaborate with the working group to host its global conference which will discuss the outcome of the consultation process and define the scope and content of the 'gender lens' document on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

This global conference will take place in early 2019. Building on a series of regional conferences, it will include members of the working group and UN treaty bodies, as well as representatives of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, states, international organizations, National Human Rights Institutions, NGOs and academia.

RESEARCHER

Picture of Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Joanna Bourke Martignoni

Senior Research Fellow

Joanna Bourke Martignoni's research areas include the right to food, land commercialization, climate change, the right to education and gender equality.

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