Members’ section
Personal identifiers
Home >> out of the menu >> Projects for engaging duty-bearers >> PORTUGAL - Forum of companies for gender equality

PORTUGAL - Forum of companies for gender equality

August 18th 2014

Description

With the aim of promoting, strengthening and mainstreaming the principle of gender equality in all areas of the labour market, CITE has decided to continue to develop projects in partnership with companies. This comes in the frame of its mission, competencies and powers and taking into account the European Union Strategy for 2020, as well as the priorities of the Portuguese state on gender equality within this strategy.

In the first semester of 2012 CITE challenged several companies to develop the project “Fórum Empresas para a Igualdade de Género – O nosso Compromisso” (Forum of Companies for Gender Equality - Our Commitment).

The project has as main objective the creation of a forum of companies that, in face of the challenges of competitiveness, take on a culture of collective responsibility and incorporate into their management strategies the principles of equality between women and men with a clear commitment to promoting equality and non-discrimination at the workplace.

The companies involved in this Forum – 21 – take on commitments regarding the improvement of their situation on gender equality. These commitments are written in an „agreement letter“ which points out the measures each company is committed to implement during 2013 and 2014.

These measures should respond to the needs and problems found in the diagnosis of their policies and practices in the areas of gender equality and non discrimination, conciliation between work and family life and the protection of maternity and paternity. This diagnosis should be based on the following dimensions that incorporate the principles of Gender Equality in organizations:

  • Corporate mission and values;
  • Staff recruitment and selection;
  • Lifelong learning;
  • Salaries and career management;
  • Social dialogue and participation of workers and their representatives;
  • Dignity of women and men at the workplace; Information, communication and image;
  • Reconciliation of professional, personal and family life;
  • Maternity and paternity protection and assistance to the family.

The monitoring of the implemented measures is made using indicators which will be assessed annually. The results achieved will be reported and, by agreement with the company, made public.

The work in partnership, as well as in networking, with a group of companies can be a lever for achieving the project objectives. The dissemination of these companies’ good examples and good practices should have a multiplier effect.

As the Forum is opened to newcomers, another 7 companies have joined the Forum on March 2014.

The governance model of the forum is based on a task force that was appointed by the members and in periodic plenary meetings where all the members of the Forum participate.

Duty bearers targeted, and their specific obligations (if any)

The duty bearers targeted with this project are companies, public and private, as well as from the cooperative sector.

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.

Companies have also the following legal obligations regarding workers who are parents:

  • Before dismissing any pregnant worker, any worker who has recently given birth or who is breastfeeding, or male worker during the parental leave (paternity leave) the employers must obligatorily request a legal opinion from CITE.
  • Employers who disagree with part-time or flexitime work for male or female workers with one or more children under the age of 12 must request, in advance, a legal opinion from CITE.
  • Report to CITE the intention of non-renewal of a fixed-term contract of any pregnant worker, any worker who has recently given birth or who is breastfeeding, or male worker during the parental leave (paternity leave), for analysis and assessment of evidence of discrimination.

Main objective of the project

The project has as main objective the creation of a forum of companies that, in face of the challenges of competitiveness, take on a culture of collective responsibility and incorporate into their management strategies the principles of equality between women and men with a clear commitment to promoting equality and non-discrimination at workplace.

The project has as specific objectives:

  • Create a forum of companies which are committed in incorporating gender equality principles in its governance and also assuming the end of all discrimination, particularly with regard to pay;
  • Create a methodology to support companies in promoting equality and non-discrimination between women and men, in particular through plans for equality;
  • Strengthen mechanisms for exchange of experiences and practices that promote gender equality in labour, employment and vocational training;
  • Take on commitments to improving workplace indicators on gender equality, reporting the results annually.

Tools

  • Advice and guidance;
  • Engagement and provision of practical support;

The companies involved in this Forum were not all at same level neither regarding information and knowledge about gender equality nor regarding measures already implemented. For this reason, a task force was set up to follow the implementation of each measure implemented by the companies. In order to do so, the task force build up a check list to monitor the implementation progress. At same time, every three month all members of the Forum meet to discuss and share information about the progress they are making and the difficulties they are facing.

All this is a process of monitoring and providing support to the companies in what concerns the analysis of the measures and policies implemented or to be implemented and is also a way of engaging them constructively.

Key achievements

The most important achievement of this project is, so far, to get the companies’ involvement to make a commitment to implement concrete steps to promote gender equality and combat discrimination within the companies.

Key challenges

The most important challenges for this project are to:

  • Expand the network of companies involved in the project, including SMEs;
  • Create a network for sharing best practices among companies;
  • Demonstrate the economic benefits of gender equality in companies’ HR management;
  • Achieve tangible goals in relation to the objectives of the European Union Strategy for 2020, in Portugal, particularly in the appointment of women to senior positions and improvement of the indicators on occupational segregation and pay gap.

These challenges will be addressed by the monitoring and assessment of the agreements signed by the companies.