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:
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.
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:
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:
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.
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.
The most important challenges for this project are to:
These challenges will be addressed by the monitoring and assessment of the agreements signed by the companies.