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UN urges businesses to make progress on women's health

By AFP

May 30, 2024 09:48 PM


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The United Nations on Thursday called on companies to set targets to improve the sexual and reproductive health of women employees, saying it could help increase productivity and reduce departures.

Unveiling metrics for evaluating workplace policies on women's sexual health, the United Nations Population Fund said that measures such as financing contraception, preventing harassment and offering free sanitary products should become stated corporate targets.

"Women represent nearly 40 percent of the global workforce. Yet, the average workplace was not built with a woman in mind," said UNFPA Executive Director Natalia Kanem.

To date, women's sexual health has been only marginally represented in company reports on environmental, social and governance (ESG) indicators, which some investors use to make business decisions.

The absence of a standardised methodology has also complicated reporting on the issue.

So the new UNFPA metrics, which the agency calls the "first-of-its kind", aim to track progress on issues such as maternity leave, sexual harassment protocols, as well as access to fertility treatments and services linked to sexually transmitted infections.

Businesses and investors could then use the data to make decisions on whether to choose a particular supplier or invest in a company based on their track record on women's sexual health, the designers argue.

According to studies cited by the UNFPA, investing in sexual and reproductive health "can yield up to a 22 percent increase in productivity, 62 percent reduction in absenteeism, and 23 percent reduction in staff turnover".


AFP


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