2021 Key finding

Companies are not ensuring women are prepared for another pandemic

Companies do not have the policies and practices in place to enable women employees and supply chain workers to thrive in normal times and endure the turbulent ones, such as childcare support and flexible work. Companies need to adapt their practices so that they are better placed to support women in the face of unexpected shocks.

Childcare and other family support

Childcare and other family support, such as paid time off to attend healthcare appointments with children or dependents, have become increasingly important for employees juggling multiple responsibilities while trying to maintain a work-life balance. However, only half of the companies assessed (51%) offer childcare support to their employees. Even fewer (37%) offer other family support; only 10 companies (29%) offer both.

Women workers in the supply chain usually bear the burden of caring for dependents, including children and elderly relatives. However, Aditya Birla is the only company that requires its suppliers to provide childcare support to their workers. Moreover, none of the companies require suppliers to provide other family support for workers to care for their dependents.

Flexible work

Work-life balance was already challenging for workers with families and carer responsibilities. Achieving this balance only became harder with the outbreak of COVID-19. Flexible work arrangements, such as being able to alter the start and end time of the work day and working from home, can help ease the burden for employees. Companies that already offered these options were able to adapt more easily when social distancing regulations and lockdowns came into effect. However, less than half of the companies assessed (49%) offer flexible working hours, and only 13 companies (37%) offer flexible work locations. Lojas Renner is the only company that tracks employees’ uptake of its flexible working options.

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Key finding

Companies must do more to support women workers in their supply chain

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