Promoting Gender Equality and Social Inclusion in the Workforce by Private Sector

Dear Members,

We, the World University Service of Canada (WUSC) in Sri Lanka working with skills training and employment in identified job demanded private sectors in Sri Lanka such as Hospitality & Tourism, Automotive, Construction and Information Communication & Technology (ICT). I would like to hear from members if you share your experiences and best practices on how private sector can promote women into their labour force participation in the areas of recruitment, retention and promoting into middle and upper managerial position. What are some best ways in doing this. Highly appreciate your ideas and feedback.

Many thanks  

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Dear colleague,

Recently I made a quick search (mainly focused in Latin America) on how private sector can develop gender equity policies, and these are some of my findings.

There are some good practices on businesses that support women´s development and productivity.  Regarding to leadership there are some good results when the CEO or main executives have a visible leadership on: creating a specific program to support woman´s training, or making periodic public statements regarding woman´s work development.

Leadership is also related with offering successful women as role models. It is helpful here to offer a prize for women in businesses or entrepreneurships.  By doing this women get attention from the media and get visible for the public eye.  It is also important to create communication strategies that show strong, confident women as CEO or decision-takers that defy stereotypes for working women.

In Bolivia there was an initiative lead by a technical institute to promote access of young women to non-traditional careers, such as mechanical automotive, domiciliary gas connection, and electrical technology.

In Peru there is a public-private initiative that created a seal that recognizes the efforts of private sector on making safe work-environment for women, free of violence and discrimination. Some companies already awarded with this seal we have a pharmaceutical, a technical institute, food service among others.  They have approved internal policies to prevent violence against women, sexual harassment, to train staff on masculinities and gender equity, to support shelters for women and children escaping domestic violence, etc.

Youtube and Google developed a campaign to promote the access and permanence of women in tech industry.  They made a documentary (Codegirl) on the role of girls and women on technology industry, and the importance of being part of it to avoid a bigger gap for them in the future.

Women´s networking is a key to generate solidarity among women, so it is important to promote and strength these kind of contacts and support.

Hope this info will help you.

Lizzy Montano


Dear colleagues,

my most recent experience with private sector stakeholders refers to an ILO initiative in Myanmar, working with the Coca Cola company at local urban level to train small retailers, by majority women, in a mix of SIYB (ILO self-teaching) booklets) and the "" online tools in use in several countries. It is all about simple bookkeeping, cashflow and keeping stock without wasting too much hard currency on obsolete consumables that hardly any client wants. It is being taught by mainly local trainers during work hours at local premises without great expense - test it out in Your field and technical subject, it does work, at least it can.

Dear Susanne,

Thanks for this great idea. I agree with the importance of financial management skills for any women in the business field, Definitely we'll try this. 

Here is the link to an evaluation I undertook of gender mainstreaming in 15 companies across the African continent.

I hope you will find it useful.

Dear Sarita,

Thank you so much. This is very relevant to what we are looking for, the comparison of best practices is very useful. Thanks for sharing. 

My pleasure. There was another evaluation I did that would be relevant to your work but I can't seem to find a copy. It was looking at a land reform programme and women's social and economic empowerment. The business activity was citrus farming and there had been a process of reforming ownership to include workers on the farm. The workers' empowerment, in particular women workers' empowerment was required to shift from worker to owner/shareholder in a community that would not have access to the kinds of skills required to operate a commercial export-focused enterprise. It was important in South Africa because our extremely skewed land ownership realities that have not changed much since the formal end of Apartheid. Black people had their land stolen, and hundreds of years later, there has been some effort to shift this historical reality by empowering farm workers to develop all of the skills needed to operate an agricultural, fair trade enterprise. If I do find it I will share it. 

Thanks Sarita. This is also useful. 


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