IDH for Gender

IDH raises its voice to emphasize just how crucial we believe it is to address gender in our value chains.

Tomorrow is the International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women. It marks the beginning of a worldwide 16-day campaign that will end on 10 December, Human Rights Day. We here at IDH will raise our voice to support this critical issue. We are participating to emphasize just how crucial we believe it is to address gender in our value chains.

At IDH, we understand that women are the key drivers of growth and sustainability. We work in global supply chains that frequently rely on women’s labor while structurally disadvantaging them. Not only do exclusionary practices in our value chains negatively affect the living conditions of the women in question, but they also lower productivity and supply across commodity sectors. By addressing gender, we can help make women less vulnerable to violence, through empowerment activities and addressing violence through either prevention or response, not only improving their productivity at work but also their quality of life in general.

What we have accomplished
In September 2017, we launched our Gender Toolkit. We understand that to achieve gender equality and empowerment, we must not view gender as an isolated theme, but as a lens to be applied in all our interventions and impact issues. The toolkit was an initial point of departure to illuminate the problem of gender inequality through case studies across commodities and further inspire to integrate gender into our approaches/solutions.

The Gender Guide, part of the toolkit, goes into more practical details by outlining key steps and guidelines that help critically reflect on the role of gender in existing or developing interventions. It also helps participants to identify opportunities and barriers that male and female workers, farmers, and managers may face that influence the effect of a program or intervention.

A few concrete gender-focused achievements in 2017

  • In the Race to the Top initiative, part of our apparel program, the impact of the interventions around worker-management dialogue on women is now measured through actively tracking women’s perceptions over time and its effect on the program.
  • In Mozambique, in cotton activities are being implemented explicitly targeting women on food security and alternative livelihoods.
  • Through a partnership with UNICEF and ERP, we have equipped over 33,000 girls with the knowledge and skills to better protect themselves from violence, abuse, and exploitation.
  • IDH has convened the Gender Empowerment Platform in Kenya to address gender and gender-based violence issues in the Kenyan tea industry.
  • We worked with the CQI Partnership for Gender Equity (PGE) to further develop the business case for the integration of gender elements in sustainability projects and test common metrics that measure progress in gender equality in coffee.
  • We have also made gender-related advancements in our landscape programs in Liberia and Vietnam.

Where we’re going
As we go forward into 2018, we will continue to integrate gender into all our value chains by using gender sensitive and gender transformative approaches. Gender sensitive approaches are easier to incorporate into existing training structures since they don’t require underlying gendered behavioral patterns to be addressed. Gender transformative approaches, on the other hand, explicitly center gender norms. This method is designed for interventions where the primary goal is to explicitly address gender issues, transform gender relations, and promote equality.

Looking back at the gender proposition we developed, IDH’s ultimate objective is to ensure gender equality and empowerment in global supply chains through the public-private partnerships that we bring together. We will continue to foreground gender in our value chains, keeping in mind that gender equity in education is a powerful way to create meaningful change.

During the 16 Days of Activism against Gender Based Violence Campaign, 16 IDH’ers will voice why they believe gender should be addressed in our value chain.

Join the campaign; follow us on #IDH4Gender #16days or stay tuned below, as we add our tweets here as the campaign progresses.