Ms Banu Khan, UN Women - Programme Analyst, Women Economic Empowerment www.businesstoday.co.ke
Ms Banu Khan, UN Women - Programme Analyst, Women Economic Empowerment [Photo/Twitter]

Businesses have been urged to have a well looked after their workforces so as to avoid having to choose between human rights and development.  

Speaking during the Making Global Goals Local Business Forum (MGGLB) Professor Githu Muigai said that the entry of women into the workplace has enriched society.

He urged businesses, small and established, to support women as nurturers as it is a necessary price to pay.

“Business and social leaders need to lead the conversation on non-discrimination on sexuality and rights of their workforce in order to support diversity,” said the former Attorney General.

The forum aimed to help accelerate progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) spotlighting on Gender Equality (SDG 5) and Good Health and Well-Being (SDG 3) at the national level.

Speaking during the high-level business forum, UNDP Kenya Resident Representative Mr Walid Badawi noted the importance of driving action for SDGs and Young Business Leaders as a catalyst to sustainable economic development. 

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“Unleashing the full potential of women and girls could add more than $12 Trillion to global GDP,” said Badawi.

Sexual Harassment

With gender gap being projected to take 135 years to achieve equity, Ms Banu Khan, UN Women Programme Analyst on Women’s Economic Empowerment said that it is crucial for businesses to speak about sexual harassment when talking about achieving the SDGs. 

“We never talk about sexual harassment whenever we talk about achieving the SDGs. By definition, it is any sex-based behaviour that is unwelcome and offensive to its recipients. 8/10 women experience sexual harassment in their lifetime. Only 1/10 report sexual harassment,” she said.

“Respecting the human rights to non-discrimination including sexual and reproductive health is not only a business responsibility but also a good investment. At Kakuzi Plc, we have an elaborate Sexual Harassment Awareness Reporting and Prevention Program (SHARP) to promote a safe work environment,” noted Simon Odhiambo, General Manager Corporate Affairs.

As part of the Making Global Goals Local Business campaign, this year Global Compact Network Kenya recognized, through an awards ceremony, a class of 4 professionals, aged 35 and under, for their work in advancing the SDGs in their companies through innovative approaches. 

Dr Joyce Sitonik, Head of Clinic Operations at AAR Healthcare was recognized as a pioneer for good health and well-being. Safaricom’s Senior Manager Sustainability, Karen Basiye, was recognized as a pioneer for partnerships for the goals.

Adamson Karuhi, Marketing Officer at Green Pencils was recognized as a pioneer for tackling plastic waste through innovation, and Marion Wambua, Senior Communication & CSR Executive at Airtel Kenya, was recognized as a pioneer for quality education through access to technology.

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Brenda Gamonde is reporter with Business Today. Email: [email protected]

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