In order to encourage employers in achieving gender equality, CITE – Commission for Equality in Labour and Employment, launched in 2000 the Equality is Quality Award (now at its 10th edition). This award is given to companies and other employers with policies in the area of gender equality and the reconciliation of personal life, family and work. Since the 8th edition the award is a joint initiative between CITE and CIG - Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality.
The award is considered prestigious and since its first edition about 190 companies and other employers have already applied for it. The candidates nominees can be awarded with the 1st prize or with an honors prize. 35 enterprises/organisations have received awards since the launch: 17 first prize and 32 honors prizes.
The awarded can use this prestigious distinction to promote themselves as enterprises/organisations which are non-discriminating and gender equality friendly.
The award is valid for 2 years.
The award applications are reviewed and evaluated by an external evaluation team which has the following duties:
The evaluation team writes an evaluation report for each applicant. These reports are based on the use of an analysis tool that comprises a set of dimensions, practices and indicators which are scored according to the company’s performance.
These evaluation reports are submitted to a Jury consisting of 18 judges from different organisations; 8 judges as members of CITE and the presidents of CITE and CIG, that coordinate the Jury. Each member of the jury is entitled to one vote.
In case of a tie, the coordination of the Jury is entitled to a casting vote.
The Award Jury is composed of representatives from Public Administration Bodies, Professional Assocations, Social Partners and representatives from Government.
The duty bearers of the Equality is Quality Award are:
1. Companies, public and private:
In Portugal, state owned companies/companies which are public undertaking must have an Equality Plan, applying the Resolution of the Council of Ministers No. 70/2008, which provides policies and measures of equality and fight against gender discrimination, especially from the point of view of human resources management. The policy instrument that fits this requirement is the National Action Plan for Equality, Gender, Citizenship and Non-discrimination, coordinated by the Commission for Citizenship and Gender Equality (CIG).
On 8 March 2012, the Council of Ministers Resolution No. 19/2012 determined the adoption of equality plans for public companies and stated the balanced presence of women on boards of directors.
The Act makes a recommendation to the private sector companies, publicly listed, to adopt the same policies.
2. Public administration (state indirect administration, i.e. public institutions and organisations which are under the autority of a Ministry but aren’t directely managed by it)
Public Administration bodies have to promote and implement the principle and culture of legality;
Public administration bodies are subjected to act in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution of the Portuguese Republic which enshrine gender equality as a fundamental principle;
They also has to ensure compliance with legislation regarding equality and non discrimination at work, as well as the promotion of gender equality of the collective labour agreements.
Equality is Quality Award is a prestigious award that has as strategic objective to combat discrimination and promote equality between women and men at work, in employment and vocational training and the conciliation of work and family life.
Its specific objectives are:
CITE realised that companies and organisations lacked information about what gender equality is and how they can act to get policies and measures more gender equal.
Every announcement of the launch of the Equality is Quality Award’s new edition as well as its regulation are tools of information about gender equality in companies.
The assessment made of the award applications, with its analysis of the data/documents send with the questionnaire, the visit to the companies/organisations to interview the management and the workers representatives and the written reports about the finds, is a process of providing support to the applicant in what concerns the analysis of the measures and policies implemented and is a way of engaging it as well.
The most important achievements of the Equality is Quality Award are:
The most important challenge identified is to ensure that companies/organizations reflect on their own reality in terms of the situation of women and men in order to gain a new perception/awareness of the company/organization situation, enabling acting to achieve gender equality objectives, as well as to fit to the prize objectives.
The assessment of the situation of the company/organization made by the award evaluation team is an audit process that guides company’s/organization’s reflection.
This process can and has led some companies to apply again to the Equality is Quality Award, already with new improvements over their previous situation regarding gender equality.