How to successfully integrate the gender and SDG approach in Spanish small businesses and SMEs
Progress towards gender equality has taken on an increasingly important role in our society. In Spain, although it is true that the levels of inequality have decreased considerably, there is still a significant gap between men and women at all levels of society. The workplace and the company are clear examples of this situation where there is still a high level of gender division of labor, lower wages and salaries for women in equal positions and where the low participation of women in positions of responsibility and management is still evident. companies.
In this sense, the application of the gender approach at the level of the company and the SME must be defined in a transversal way in the work of the whole organization, both in the internal functioning (organizational culture ) than in the actions of the company in the sector in which it participates. .
SMEs represent 61% of the value of the economy of the Spanish State and concentrate more than ⅔ of jobs, constituting a dynamic niche in the economic and social structure of the country. This is why within the framework of the project “For a fairer and more sustainable Madrid: Raising awareness about responsible consumption and the 2030 Agenda through small businesses in Madrid”, funded by the City of Madrid, a series of ‘activities were developed focusing on small and medium-sized enterprises.
For example, the NGO Unimos Internacional and the Copade Foundation have produced a guide on SDG 5 gender equality measures that small businesses and SMEs can integrate into their work. The guide starts from the need to know the state of the application of the 2030 Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in SMEs and small businesses in the city of Madrid, with particular attention to the SDG 5 Gender equality.
“With this project, we want to make the work of Madrid’s SMEs and their contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) more widely known, giving priority to SDG 5 (gender). We know that it is necessary to think of a dynamic and effective way that contributes to greater gender equality in all spheres of society and studying the current scenario is one of the steps to come up with solutions to the difficulties that women face. women meet on a daily basis to empower their professional life ”, underlines the CEO of Copade, Javier Fernndez.
Professional and personal reconciliation versus the invisibility of barriers to inequalities
For the development of the Guide, a sample of 15 SMEs was selected, which participated in the activities of the project, to assess the implementation of the gender perspective and its link with the SDGs in the daily work they perform, both within companies with training and decision-making issues, as in their work with other companies that provide goods and services and with the consumer population.
The document presents the most significant results and some actions that SMEs can take to achieve the SDGs, as well as the necessary resources and the development of strategies that even allow them to measure their impacts. Regarding SDG 5 Gender Equality, the level of knowledge is similar to all SDGs, emphasizing measures to reconcile family, work and personal life, equal pay and joint responsibility in decision-making. The main obstacles facing women entrepreneurs and workers are the invisibility of the very barriers of inequality that exist.
Thus, from the diagnosis of the sample, the Measurement Guide was produced, which provides guidelines to companies when they offer their services and products. The Guide is divided into 3 blocks: The first deals with training in gender and equality policies within the framework of human resources management. The second block proposes the design and application of gender-focused internal regulations and protocols that enable working conditions and procedures that guarantee levels of accountability and participation in an equitable manner, as well as occupational health and safety. application of the commitment to effective equality with: suppliers, customers, users, contractors, subcontractors. The third block proposes inclusive communication measures.
“In general, we find that in the workplace and in companies, there is still a high level of gender division of labor, differences in pay for equal positions and the low participation of women in positions of responsibility and management. . This study highlights that most companies are aware of and align with the SDGs (some consciously and others more subtly), which is why they are already working with this approach, including some of them, with a budget of staffing and human resources in your planning. On the other hand, integrating the gender approach into its business practices continues to be a challenge, ”explains Unimos coordinator Rosala Soley.
The project is coordinated by the COPADE Foundation and UNIMOS, in collaboration with Sustainable StartUp.CO and is funded by the City of Madrid.