The Women@Work Campaign strives for a world where women are economically independent and have decision-making power. Yet, deeply-rooted inequalities in the social, political and economic spheres keep women in disadvantaged positions and disempower low-income women workers.
Globalization of our economies has positively stimulated private sector development in lower and middle-income countries and has provided many jobs for women in these countries: in farms and factories, women are crucial links in the global value chains. Yet many women working in the horticulture sector face exploitation and violation of their rights.
Women often perform the unskilled, lowest paid jobs. They have no sick or maternity leave, for instance. This is made worse by the fact that their work is often regarded as having little or no meaningful economic value, and is frequently not (fully) visible. They are hired on short-term (or without) contracts, working long hours for low wages in unhealthy conditions. This makes it all the more difficult to protect, let alone improve, labor rights. This is what the Women@Work Campaign aims to change.
Corporate social responsibility
The Women@Work Campaign also encourages companies to take their responsibility in improving the rights of women workers. By engaging in corporate social responsibility (CSR), businesses can have a positive social, environmental and economic impact while also demonstrating to consumers that they are accountable and ethical.
The Campaign shows businesses how they can benefit from respecting workers’ rights. Improving women’s labor rights is not only beneficial to the quality of life of the workers and their families, but is also in the interest of the companies involved. More motivated staff leads to better quality products, higher productivity levels and less absenteeism. Investing in women also benefits companies' corporate image and delivers better opportunities in the market between CSR-responsible retailers and conscious consumers.