UN Foundation Announces New Framework for Corporate Action on Workplace Women’s Health and Empowerment

New guideline outlines concrete steps for companies to go beyond compliance and toward a healthier, more productive workforce

New York, NY

September 24, 2019


Megan Rabbitt

The United Nations Foundation, together with the UN Global Compact and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA), today released a first-of-its-kind comprehensive guideline for private sector companies to take action on women’s health and empowerment in their global supply chain workforces. The Framework for Corporate Action on Workplace Women’s Health and Empowerment provides a holistic approach and outlines concrete actions for companies to embed women’s health and empowerment in their policies, systems, and operations.

The Framework positions women’s health as central to empowerment, economic development, and decent work. For the nearly 200 million women working in global supply chains to thrive and advance in the workplace, they need access to essential health care services from quality reproductive care to cancer screenings to protection from gender-based violence. Companies are taking note, especially those that employ largely female workforces. In industries like garment manufacturing, coffee, tea, cocoa, and flower farming, and hospitality, in which women comprise 50 to 80 percent of the workforce, companies are investing in workplace women’s health and empowerment, recognizing that what is good for women workers also generates business returns through a healthier, more productive workforce.

“This is part of a growing movement by the private sector to move beyond compliance to drive real, systematic change for workers, communities, and the world,” said Robyn Russell, Director of Programs and Innovation at the United Nations Foundation’s Universal Access Project. “Investing in the health and well-being of women workers is the right thing to do and the smart thing to do, and this framework lays out for companies how to get started or go further to make women’s health and empowerment a priority in their global supply chain workforces.”

The framework is based on learnings from consultations with programs, companies, and non-governmental organizations to compile the best practices for investing in workplace women’s health and empowerment. It outlines specific actions, rationale, and resources for both buyers and suppliers in a four-step process that includes understanding workers’ needs and operational gaps, setting priorities and targets, taking action on education and services for women’s health and empowerment, and measuring, improving, and communicating around the initiative. The framework also cites specific programs and examples for each phase of action, and outlines innovative funding models to turn concepts into reality in a way that is effective and sustainable.

To learn more about the framework and explore the business case for investing in workplace women’s health and empowerment, visit www.privatesectoractionforwomenshealth.com.

About the United Nations Foundation

The United Nations Foundation acts as a strategic partner to help the United Nations mobilize the ideas, people, and resources it needs to drive global progress and tackle urgent challenges. We focus on issues at the heart of the Sustainable Development Goals, build initiatives across sectors to solve problems at scale, and engage citizens who seek action. Founded in 1998 by entrepreneur and philanthropist Ted Turner, the UN Foundation works with philanthropic, corporate, government, and individual partners. Learn more at: www.unfoundation.org.