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Firms urged to adopt Women's Empowerment Principles

Update: December, 04/2014 - 08:51
Nguyen Thi Dieu Hong, speaking at a workshop on improving businesses' competitiveness by empowering women at workplaces held in HCM City on Tuesday, revealed that only 23 companies in the whole country apply them.— Photo cafebiz

HCM CITY (VNS) — Enterprises, especially those exporting their products, should apply the seven Women's Empowerment Principles to fulfill their corporate social responsibility in order to raise their competitiveness in international markets, a consultant on these principles said.

Nguyen Thi Dieu Hong, speaking at a workshop on improving businesses' competitiveness by empowering women at workplaces held in HCM City on Tuesday, revealed that only 23 companies in the whole country apply them.

The seven principles are: establishing high-level corporate leadership for gender equality; treating all women and men fairly at work, respecting and supporting human rights and non-discrimination; ensuring the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers; promoting education, training and professional development of women; implementing enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women; promoting equality through community initiatives and advocacy; and measuring and publicly reporting on progress to achieve gender equality.

They are a result of collaboration between the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women and the United Nations Global Compact.

The principles are harmonious with the country's labour and gender equality laws, Hong added.

Dam Minh Hoa, trade union chairwoman at the Viet Thang Garment Joint Stock Company, said it is vital for company chiefs to understand the importance of and benefits arising from these principles.

Her company has applied them since June, she said.

They are similar to 12 principles of corporate social responsibility US partners had demanded in 2007 that her company should pledge to uphold to get their import orders, she said.

It also includes a pledge to protect the environment.

This has garnered Viet Thang a good reputation, leading to more and more orders, Hoa said.

With more orders, employees' incomes are improved and stable, making them more loyal and ready to contribute to the company's development, she said.

"The quality of the company's products has also improved, leading to a good reputation."

The company is focused on creating a good working environment for its employees, especially women, she said.

"The company respects women workers and pays attention to their healthcare because they contribute to the company's profits."

Women account for 72 per cent of the company's employees, she said.

Workers do not work extra time, and finish working at five o'clock everyday, she said.

But she admitted that the cost of applying the principles is very high. — VNS

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