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Tuesday, November 27 • 4:40pm - 6:00pm
Developing a gender lens to business and human rights

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Organized by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights 

Brief description of the session: 
Against this background, this session – framed as a “gender roundtable” – will discuss major challenges faced by women in business-related contexts and explore potential solutions as well as good practices to address these challenges. The roundtable will focus on the following five thematic areas:
  • Sexual harassment and sexual violence against women
  • Gender sensitive human rights due diligence
  • Economic inclusion and empowerment of women
  • Impact of trade, investment and tax regimes on women
  • Women’s experiences of accessing effective remedies and defending rights
To prepare for the gender roundtable, individuals and organizations who had submitted session proposals for the Forum related to gender issues and some other stakeholders have been invited to form a small group on each of the above five themes. Each group is expected to discuss internally and prepare a 2-page brief to inform discussion at the gender roundtable. The briefs will highlight the main challenges faced by women in the five specific thematic situations identified above as well as the potential solutions and good practices to overcome those challenges. All received briefs will be posted on the UN Working Group’s gender project webpage.

Session objectives:
  1. Raise sensitivity amongst all stakeholders about the key challenges faced by women in business-related contexts.
  2. Identify potential solutions as well as best practices concerning these challenges.
  3. Inform the UN Working Group’s proposed gender guidance on how to “protect, respect and remedy” the rights of women in a business context in line with the UNGPs.
Background to the discussion:
Women (including girls) experience business-related human rights abuses in unique ways and are often affected disproportionately. Women also face multiple forms of discrimination and experience additional barriers in seeking access to effective remedies for business-related human rights abuses. Therefore, in order to effectively meet their respective human rights duties and responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), States and business enterprises need to be sensitive to the unique experiences of women and the structural discrimination or barriers that they face.
In order to assist States and business enterprises in achieving this goal, the UN Working Group is developing gender guidance to the UNGPs. This guidance will provide practical recommendations for what it means to “protect, respect and remedy” the rights of women in a business context in line with the UNGPs. The gender guidance to the UNGPs, which will cover all three pillars, will be the theme of report of the Working Group to be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2019. Further information about this project is available at: https://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Business/Pages/GenderLens.aspx

Session format:
The gender roundtable will be organised as follows:
- Introductory remarks by the Surya Deva, Vice-Chair, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (5 minutes)
- Sharing of briefs developed by five thematic groups (6 minutes for each group)
- Each group will organise a “gender café” to brainstorm further issues around the given theme with other participants (45 minutes)
- Break (20 minutes)
- Reflections from gender cafés (40 minutes)
- Open discussion facilitated by the moderator (40 minutes)

Moderator/ Introductory Remark...
avatar for Surya Deva

Surya Deva

Vice-Chair, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

Susan Mathew

Human Rights Officer, Right to Development Division, OHCHR
avatar for Irit Tamir

Irit Tamir

Director, Private Sector Department, Oxfam

avatar for Salome Atieno

Salome Atieno

Executive Director, Haki Mashinani Kenya
Salome Odero is an advocate in Kenya. She has experience on access to justice, democracy and governance, access to remedies, providing pro bono services and is a human rights defender.
avatar for Jesse Coleman

Jesse Coleman

Senior Legal Researcher, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment, Columbia University
Jesse Coleman is a Senior Legal Researcher at the Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment (CCSI). She joined CCSI in 2015, and focuses on the nexus of international investment and human rights law; investment law and policy; and sustainable investments in land, agriculture, and... Read More →

Sean Cornelissen

Policy Officer, Natural Resources Policy,, Global Affairs Canada
Natural resources policy, mining, OECD Due Diligence on Mineral Supply Chains, Voluntary Principles, Kimberley Process
avatar for Mary Kambo

Mary Kambo

Programme Advisor on Labour & Business and Human Rights, Kenya Human Rights Commission
With specialist knowledge on labour rights at the national, regional and international levels; having engaged in labour rights work for more than 10 years now.

Sarah Knuckey

Columbia Law School Human Rights Clinic

Francine Picard

Associate, International Institute for Sustainable Development

Elizabeth Umlas

Lecturer, University of Fribourg
decent work and supply chainliving wageteaching BHRbenefit corporations

Tuesday November 27, 2018 4:40pm - 6:00pm CET
Room XX