Gender perspectives on CSR

The popular tv show Mad Men set in New York’s emerging advertizing industry of the 1960’s, underlines the challenges and difficulties women were faced with when entering the workplace at the time.  Sexual harassment, being ignored by their leaders, and thick glass ceilings, just to mention a few.  Since then, women have moved far in the workplace (at least in some countries).

Yet, in 2012 for performing the same work women still (statistically) receive lower salaries than male colleagues,  both within the public and private sector. Women are absent from top management,  leadership positions and boardrooms across the corporate world. Furthermore, issues such as sexual harassment, abuse and low wages are problems with a gender dimension to it.

In 2010 the UN Global Compact placed gender equality on the CSR agenda through the launch of the Women’s_Empowerment_Principles. These principles address the issue of gender equality in all areas of business, including  leadership, supply chains and entrepreneurship in communities. The principles create awareness and give practical examples of what corporations can do to empower women’s role in the workplace. There is a huge potential for business to make a difference.

That said, it is not only the business community that bear the responsibility for correcting inequalities. There is a need for policies that promote women’s agency, opportunities and rights in the workplace. Policies that empower and enable the entire workforce, both men and women,  to participate and contribute with their capacity.

This part of CSR is up to all of us, in the businesses and organisations we participate in daily. If the  workplace of the 21st century was of the Mad Men, why not let the 22nd be of the Sane Men and Women?

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On the note of leadership…

Speaking of leadership, if you are interested what some of the most influential people in business are up to these last couple of days and the state of global economic development, keep an eye on the annual World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland!

A notable quote mentioned in AI, Africa Investor, from Donald Kaberuka, President of the African Development Bank:

“We have to generate the political will to do things that have to be done. We need a framework of regulations, public-private partnerships that help create investor confidence, and standardisation in our financial and services industries. These are things that are lacking, but with storm clouds in the rest of the world, we must turn to ourselves for growth.”

What struck me the most about what he said is right on target, but presents a definite challenge for many SSA countries:

1) political will

2) standardisation

3) ownership and leveraging individual (country and local) growth–all without the sugar daddies of WB or IMF among other institutions…

Follow someone at Davos! Here are some suggestions!: Tweeting from Davos

Emotional Intelligence 4 CSR

Just a quicky about EQ, We all talk about CSR and how it contributes to development, but there is an important ingredient that needs to be highlighted. In the world of the private sector there is a need to supplement the existing profit intelligence with a more Emotional Intelligence mindset. CSR isn’t just about the responsibility for its surrounding environment (nor only about marketing), but it should be first built on the people in the organisation where strategy is built with both brain and heart, where top talent is committed for its own sake and is willing to do their best for the purpose of the company. Research has also shown that emotional intelligence is two times more important in contributing to excellence than intellect and expertise alone. We need more diversity and “personal without being private”- leaderships, to build the business from within to make everyone wanting the same goal. Therefore corporate decisionmaking should alter and restructure its current businessmodels to a more humane nature where emotional intelligence replaces greed at the roundtable, pronto!

/ Eva Alm

100 Most Influential People in Business Ethics-2011

The list is out! Ethisphere has just published its newest list for the 100 most influential people in business ethics: HERE

Among the 2011 list include those from various sectors both public and private, academic and corporate, government and Non-government.

Excited to see a professor from my alma mater–Arizona State University–on the list!

#89 Marianne Jennings – Professor, Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business

Some other notable business ethics extraordinaires include:

#1 Anna Hazare – Indian Anti-Corruption Activist, Independent
Category: Thought Leadership

#17 Ai Weiwei – Chinese artist and activist, Independent
Category: Media and Whistle-blower

#37 Panthep Klanarongran – President, National Anti-Corruption Commission of Thailand
Category: Government and Regulatory

#49 John Githongo – Activist, Kenya
Category: Media and Whistleblower

#54 Azim Premji – Chairman, Wipro
Category: Business Leadership

#58 Michelle Obama – First Lady, United States
Category: Government and Regulatory

Ethisphere Institute is a leading international think-tank dedicated to the creation, advancement and sharing of best practices in business ethics, corporate social responsibility, anti-corruption and sustainability. The Ethisphere Council and Business Ethics Leadership Alliance are forums for business ethics that includes the membership of over 200 leading corporations, universities and institutions