Business and Women’s Human Rights

Corporations have a significant influence on political, economic and social processes in both national and international spheres, sometimes even possessing more wealth than governments. With this growing power, there is a definite risk that women’s human rights will be undermined in the quest for the consolidation of wealth. Due to entrenched discriminatory and patriarchal laws, practices and systems, business activities often exacerbate gender inequalities, with women bearing a disproportionate impact of corporate activities as workers, human rights defenders and as communities affected by the actions of corporations.

IWRAW Asia Pacific’s work on business and women’s human rights aims to amplify women’s voices and lived experiences in the Global South, and influence regional and international processes to integrate women’s human rights in strategies to address corporate responsibility and accountability. Our role is to ensure that global discussions are grounded in local experiences and women’s lived realities. We use an intersectional human-rights-based framework to demonstrate the gender-specific impact of corporate abuses and work to strengthen understanding on gender-sensitive approaches to business and human rights so that women’s experiences are not rendered invisible.

Through our convenings and capacity building we aim to create space for diverse groups to share their analysis and perspectives on business and women’s human rights to identify common areas of concern and priority issues, with a view to build bridges and strengthen connections between groups, with emphasis on marginalised groups.

We Work With

  • Women’s Rights Organisations
  • Regional and Global Civil Society and Women’s Rights Organisations and Networks
  • United Nations Treaty Bodies, Special Procedures and Mandate Holders
  • Labour and Trade Unions
  • National Human Rights Institutions

Programme in Action

In response to a call by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights for stakeholders’ input on Access to Remedy, IWRAW Asia Pacific compiled a submission in collaboration with other women’s rights organisations and civil society networks to draw attention to the gendered dimensions of access to remedies in the context of business activities. Our input is reflected in the analysis and recommendations of the UN Working Group’s 2017 report to the General Assembly. The report used women as an illustrative group to show remedies and mechanisms need to be responsive to communities affected by business activities. The input for the submission was also based on a consultation organised by IWRAW AP during our Regional Dialogue on Natural Resources and Women’s Human Rights in Cambodia in 2017.



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