B4SI News

Gender Equality through Intentional Community Investment and Measurement

Image credit: UN Women (UN Women #IWD2024 | Trello)

International Women’s Day (IWD) presents an opportunity each year to celebrate women all over the world and the valuable contributions they make to society; in addition to taking time to reflect on the ongoing challenges.

The 2023 United Nations report, Progress on the Sustainable Development Goals: The Gender Snapshot 2023[1], highlights the gender dimension across the 17 UN Sustainable Development Goals and makes for confronting reading. Progress is slow – particularly for Goal 5 – Gender Equality, for which none of the indicators are ‘at target met or almost met’. The report notes: “An SDG stimulus targeted at gender equality objectives is key for transformational impact.” And that a staggering “additional $360 billion per year is needed to achieve gender equality and women’s empowerment across key global goals, including to end poverty and hunger”.

Companies in the global B4SI network utilise the Community Investment Framework on an ongoing basis to continually analyse philanthropic and strategic giving programs –the benefits of doing so are many, including ensuring sustainability in the context of the individual business, and with ever-evolving societal challenges.

Member companies are regularly invited to actively participate in the development of guidance for managing and measuring the positive social impact of their contributions – and in 2023 this took the form of newly developed guidance for ‘Measuring Individual Beneficiaries’ from corporate social impact programs. B4SI member companies now have access to a practical manual for accurate measurement and reporting of the ‘outputs’ of their contributions, co-created by the B4SI team and representatives from over 40 B4SI member companies globally.

Throughout the 12 working group sessions held globally, members discussed and shared the various ways in which diversity metrics are employed in their social impact planning and management, resulting in the inclusion of some considerations and pointers across the spectrum of diversity in the guidance, when measuring and reporting. One aspect of the guidance relates to some of the ways in which corporates with a strategic focus on a particular gender metric are managing to track this and utilise it for management information purposes and to inform ongoing investment.

B4SI member resources and measurement tools enable companies to track the alignment of their community investments to the UN SDGs, in addition to providing a framework for critical thinking about a community investment program’s overall intent and its alignment to business strengths and strategic goals.

Corporates with an intentional focus on investing specifically in the economic empowerment of women and girls can apply the framework to interrogate whether investments are having the intended positive impact, and course correct where intentions and outcomes are misaligned.

The UN Women’s[2] theme for this year’s IWD is fittingly: “Invest in Women. Accelerate Progress[3].” At B4SI, with a current team make up of 80% women, we will continue to support our valued members to apply the tools and resources available through B4SI membership to contribute to a more equal society for all.

If you’d like to learn more about how you can sign your company up to B4SI membership, get in touch today: b4si@corporate-citizenship.com

[1] https://www.unwomen.org/en/digital-library/publications/2023/09/progress-on-the-sustainable-development-goals-the-gender-snapshot-2023

[2] https://www.unwomen.org/en

[3] https://www.unwomen.org/en/news-stories/announcement/2023/12/international-womens-day-2024-invest-in-women-accelerate-progress



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