Gender Equality in the Workplace – Free Online Assessment Tool Available

Gender equality and women’s empowerment doesn’t only concern women. It concerns society as a whole.  When half of society doesn’t have the same opportunities as the other half – we’re clearly limiting our collective potential and we’re all worse off because of it.


This is why achieving gender equality and empowering all women and girls is one of the main tenets of the UN’s sustainable development goals and why it’s regarded as being such a critical element to achieving the aim of sustainable development more broadly. Simply put – without gender equality and empowerment there can be no sustainable development.


The business case is also hugely compelling. Gender equality is associated with significant increases in national productivity and economic growth. A recent study suggested that by improving female participation in the workplace across OECD countries alone could boost GDP by some $6 trillion, while closing the gender pay gap could boost GDP by $2 trillion.


At a company level, studies have also demonstrated that gender equality and empowerment contributes to increased performance and innovation, better decision-making, an enhanced corporate reputation and an ability to attract talent as well as achieve higher employee retention and satisfaction rates.  All of which contribute to a companies’ bottom line


However, despite this, gender equality – meaning that women and men are equally able to access and enjoy the same resources, opportunities and rewards –  remains as a significant and stubborn challenge in many companies up to present day…


Women continue to experience gender discrimination in recruitment, retention, promotion, and succession practices right across the corporate spectrum from entry-level professional positions to the C-suite. Women and men may enter at similar levels, but women are less likely to be promoted and are significantly under-represented in managerial posts and decision-making bodies.


Women continue to be systematically paid less than men  – for work of equal value. Where globally, women earn 23 per cent less than men.


Women continue to bear a disproportionate share of unpaid care and domestic work which constitutes a significant barrier to gender equality in the workplace by limiting women’s capacity to engage in paid work.


Women continue to face incidences of violence and sexual harassment at work and this represents a serious physical and psychological obstacle to achieving gender equality.  It also extorts a high cost to women in terms of lost earnings, missed promotions and wellbeing, as well as costs to the company in the form of absenteeism and productivity losses.


Effectively addressing these issues will require that we put the appropriate policies, procedures and systems in place to effectively deal with issues of gender discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace


But the scale of the issue, also calls upon us to accelerate gender equality and empowerment if we have any chance of meeting the 2030 SDG targets – and this will require more than just tinkering on the side –  companies will have to move more boldly and proactively to invest in women and girls by:

  • creating enabling environments that eliminate gender barriers in business transactions,
  • leveraging procurement to help build capacity and support women-positive workplaces and women entrepreneurs in supply chains,
  • improving social inclusion and protection measures at work, and
  • fostering a supportive culture by advocating for women and girls, and avoiding the perpetuation of harmful and discriminatory stereotypes of both women and men in marketing materials and in society more broadly.

It’s a fairly substantial list of activities – so where should a company start?


Fortunately, UN Women and the UN Global Compact have developed a set of global principles – The Women’s Empowerment Principles – which offers some useful guidance to business in this area (and a bit of a road map) on how businesses can effectively promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace.  The guidance include the following 7 principles:

  • Establish high level corporate leadership for gender equality
  • Treat all women and men fairly at work – respecting and supporting human rights and non-discrimination.
  • Ensure the health, safety and well being of all women and men workers
  • Promote education, training and professional development for women
  • Implement enterprise development, supply chain, and marketing practices that empower women
  • Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy, and
  • Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality.


Some of these principles are at a very and abstract level so we created a tool that operationalizes these WEPs principles and translates them into more easily understandable business processes and management systems.


The result is the InterPraxis Gender Equality and Empowerment Diagnostic Tool which we have put online for companies to access for free.



While the tool is still in beta version, many individuals and organizations have found it to be a very useful to conduct their own gap analyses or self-assessments and quickly identify areas where they can improve their performance related to gender equality and empowerment.


Making gender equality a top strategic priority for business and other organizations is critical for achieving the SDGs.  Businesses can’t do it alone, but they have an important role to play in achieving gender equality and promoting women’s empowerment in both the workplace and in society more broadly. And the tone from the top is also key.


When company leaders and senior executives affirm high-level support and commit to implementing relevant policies for gender equality and human rights, transformations are more likely to take place.


Of course these commitments need to be accompanied by robust programs and company-wide goals and targets for achieving gender equality, and by stewarding a shift towards a corporate culture that both celebrates and recognizes the importance of equality, diversity and inclusion for all.


*Access our video on Gender Equality in the Workplace in our Resources Section