A group of businesses in Thailand are taking steps to create more equitable workplaces.
The heads of 110 companies committed to a new set of women’s economic empowerment principles established by the United Nations on Wednesday, according to a news release.
UN Women and the UN Global Compact created “The Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs)” in 2010 as a part of the WeEmpowerAsia initiative to improve women’s economic participation in the private sector. The versatile blueprint is framed around international labor and human rights standards and is designed to be applied in businesses of all sizes in any industry.
So far 3,600 companies worldwide have agreed to implement the WEPs and held themselves accountable for empowering women while helping achieve gender equality.
Some of the WEPs’ seven principles promote gender equality in boardrooms, equal pay, prioritizing the health and well-being of all staff, investing in women’s professional growth, and measuring and reporting gender equality progress.
Companies in Thailand agreed to uphold the WEPs, although the country has already fared well in hiring women for senior business roles compared to other regions — 24% of CEOs and managing directors are women, while the average is 13% in the Asia-Pacific and 20% globally, according to the UN.
Nationally, however, many women in rural areas still live in poverty, hold insecure jobs, and don’t have the opportunity to enter senior positions. Women who work in the informal sector are also some of the hardest hit by the COVID-19 pandemic in the country.
Mohammad Naciri, regional director for Asia and the Pacific at UN Women, called for action to support gender equality in business and all sectors at a ceremony in Bangkok. Naciri stressed the need to use the COVID-19 pandemic as a chance to rebuild better.
“The ‘new normal’ shines a light on our common humanity, shared vulnerabilities, and it is only through a collective, collaborative recovery that a more gender-equal society can be fully achieved,” he said.