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.

RESEARCHERS

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.

Publications

Cover of the Briefing

Gender Responsive Due Diligence for Business Actors: Human Rights-Based Approaches

December 2018

Joanna Bourke Martignoni, Elizabeth Umlas

Geneva Academy of International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

Download >

NEWS AND EVENTS

Participants in the consultation News

Multi-Stakeholder Consultation to Integrate Gender-Sensitive and Gender-Responsive Frameworks in Business Activities

February 2019

Academics, representatives of international organizations, members of UN treaty bodies, the private sector, business associations and civil society discussed the integration of a ‘gender lens’ to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

Read more >

Cambodia- A day in the life of Chhun Srey Sros, a garment factory worker in Cambodia News

Gender Equality: Clarifying the Responsibilities of Companies under International Human Rights Law

December 2018

Our new publication Gender Responsive Due Diligence for Business Actors: Human Rights-Based Approaches focuses on the direct responsibilities of business actors to respect and, in some circumstances, facilitate gender equality guarantees under international human rights law.

Read more >

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

Julie Matatiken is the Senior Laboratory Technician at SOCOMEP, an enterprise that provides services for the Seychelles’ largest industry – industrial tuna fishing. Event

Women’s Economic Empowerment and the SDGs: Closing the Gender Gap in a Rapidly Changing Society

November 2019, 13:15-14:45

This event, organized by the Permanent Mission of Japan and co-sponsored by the Permanent Missions of France, Canada, Mexico and Finland and the Geneva Academy, will discuss the challenges in economically empowering women.

Read more

Police in the streets of Athens Event

Human Rights in Peaceful Protest: Lawyers at the Forefront. A European Perspective

November 2019, 11:15-12:30

In the context of the 2019 Geneva Peace Week and in partnership with IBAHRI, this event will address the too often obstructed right to legal assistance persons subjected to violence, arrest or detention are entitled to.

Read more

Afghanistan, Parwan detention facility. Inside a room where detainees of the prison, separated by an acrylic glass, are allowed to meet with their families a couple of times per year with the help of the ICRC employees who facilitate the programme. Short Course

Preventing and Combating Terrorism

27 February - March 2020

This short course discusses the extent to which states may  limit and/or derogate from their international human rights obligations in order to prevent and counter terrorism and thus protect persons under their jurisdiction.

Read more

Syria,  Aleppo, great Umayyad mosque. Destructions. Short Course

The Interplay between International Humanitarian Law and Human Rights

6- December 2019

This short course focuses on the specific issues that arise in times of armed conflict regarding the respect, protection and fulfilment of human rights. It addresses key issues like the applicability of human rights in times of armed conflict; the possibilities of restricting human rights under systems of limitations and derogations; and the extraterritorial application of human rights law.

Read more

Session of a UN Treaty Body Project

Treaty Bodies Individual Communications Procedures

Started in January 2019

Read more

 Chittagong (Bangladesh) ship breaking yard Project

A Practitioners' Guide on Human Rights and Countering Corruption

Started in January 2015

This research project, aims via the drafting of a practitioners’ guide on human rights and countering corruption, to clarify the conceptual relationship between human rights, good governance and anticorruption, demonstrate the negative impact of corruption on human rights and provide guidance and make practical recommendations for effectively using the UN human rights system in anti-corruption efforts.

Read more