The ESG pillars are the doors to empowering women and guaranteeing their equality in this corporate sector that is always evolving, which in turn empowers the entire society
Women around the world struggle immensely when it comes to having equitable access to resources, real agency and decision-making authority, and striving for and achieving goals. Despite recent advancements in inclusion and empowerment, there are still major obstacles for women to overcome, especially in unstable and conflict-affected environments where these obstacles are much worse. The ESG parameters aggregate data on the results of many sorts of gender-sensitive and gender-transformative interventions in order to determine what strategies can increase women's empowerment in fragile contexts with high levels of gender inequality. The ESG parameters stand for Environmental, Social and Governance parameters to evaluate various organisations. When referring to the E i.e., Environmental measure to gauge an institution or company’s progress, the focal points involve implementation of technology, its usage and disposal for sustainability and environment friendliness. It is a measure that is largely regulated by various laws on air pollution, water pollution, waste management, climate change, carbon emission, and so on. As all of these factors combined has a disproportionate impact on women and girls, and, it becomes a vital concern to make the responses and decision making at corporate levels socially inclusive and gender sensitive. The S symbolises “Social” parameters which is constituted by human rights, diversity, equity and inclusion, investment in communities, data privacy, and access to equal career and financial development.
In addition to using a gender lens, discussions on the future of ESG, mainstreaming social value, impact management, and achieving the SDGs should make sure that gender equity is acknowledged and implemented as a significant component of the offered solutions. This is due to the fact that establishing gender equality and empowering women and girls are crucial for reaching this goal. Last but not the least, G is for Governance; rooting for transparency, data privacy, monitoring & analysis of gender inclusive policies. Simply put, the key question that investors seek answers to, is trust, and whether the organisation will uphold the three lenses with an honest effort to establish a sustainable, diversified and inclusive future. The governance pillar is crucial since it establishes the standard for how a business will run. By ensuring that a business is managed ethically with integrity and social inclusion, good governance practises can boost revenues, reduce disproportionate risks, and foster better relationships with stakeholders. To conclude, diversity and social inclusion in an organisation already has many documented tangible benefits. These benefits include, among others, greater brand reputation, higher productivity, better creativity and innovation, and customer centricity. A new discussion paper from the UK financial services authorities: “Inclusion and diversity in the financial sector: working together to drive change”, presents the case for change and identifies the actions that businesses must take to prioritise inclusion and diversity.
These will entail incorporation of diversity into laws, rules of government, systems of accountability, compensation, and openness. However, failure to consider these factors while analysing a company's growth has resulted in problems disproportionately affecting women, who make up half of the population, in terms of the economy, society, and politics. Recent discussions about ESG and its significance have been started by world leaders and the global community in an effort to address this conflict of interest, which not only burdens half of the world's population but prevents nations and global economies from reaching their full potential. ESG pillars are the windows to empower women and ensure their equal stance in this ever-changing corporate sector which in turn, empowers the entire society.
(The author is Head of Office, UN Women, Timor-Leste)