A United States-based investment group, along with the UN Development Fund for Women, has developed a global code of conduct for corporates to bring equality between its male and female workers and to help empower women.
The Calvert Group and UNIFEM plan to persuade the corporate sector to follow the guidelines, which cover issues like wages and benefits, health, safety and discrimination, to show their commitment to social responsibility.
"The Calvert Women's Principles constitute the first global code of conduct for corporations focused exclusively on empowering, advancing and investing in women worldwide," President and CEO of Calvert Barbara Krumsiek said.
She said: "Calvert Women's Principles will provide companies a set of goals they can aspire to and measure their progress against, while offering investors a set of tools they can use to assess corporate performance on gender equality issues."
"The Calvert Women's Principles will provide a concrete set of indicators for tracking the progress of gender justice in the corporate community," Noeleen Heyzer, Executive Director of UNIFEM, said.
Asserting that increasing corporate business accountability with regard to gender equality is of highest priority for UNIFEM, he said: "We are pleased to partner with Calvert in defining these unique pathways and developing their groundbreaking Women's Principles."
The Calvert Women's Principles cover issues such as wages and benefits; health, safety and violence; civic and community engagement; discrimination in workplace; management and governance; hiring, promotion and professional development; business and supply chain practices; and monitoring and reporting.
Calvert and UNIFEM also announced their intention to work with partners in the corporate, NGO and institutional investor communities to develop strategies for persuading companies to endorse and implement Calvert's Women's Principles.
Such strategies may include developing tool kits and other resources for corporations to implement the Women's Principles; developing auditing and verification guidelines for monitoring compliance; recognizing best practices in the area of gender equality and women's empowerment and organising symposia and conferences.