Violence Against Women and its Impact on Businesses
By: Wendy Matamoros, Coordinator of Intersectoral Alliances and Communications.
Violence against women does not only occur in the home, it also occurs in the workplace. Many attacks against women occur when they are working. Control and prevention of violence does not only have to do with meddling in private life. This violence does not only affect women, it also puts businesses at risk because it challenges them to make their commitment to fighting violence more tangible.
Staff working in businesses might be experiencing situations of gender-based violence inside or outside of their workplace, either as victims, perpetrators or witnesses.
Being in any of these three positions has a direct impact on dynamics in the workplace and expresses itself in many ways: health problems, lack of motivation to work, absence and tardiness. It can also cause misuse of resources and even workplace accidents due to distraction, which leads to diminished productivity, increased turnover, increased leaves of absence, and a negative workplace environment. All of this leads to economic losses that affect profitability, sustainability and the reputation of the business.
Women are present along each link in the value chain. They are vendors, contractors and distributors. They are an integral part of the labor force and internal leadership. They make up enormous market potential, representing half of the national population, and they play a key role in the communities where businesses have a presence and an impact.
When businesses add value to their internal and external clientele, the results are highly positive. Ignoring violence against women would be less than strategic. Nevertheless, commitment to fighting gender-based violence should not only be considered in economic terms, but should also guarantee a favorable environment for human rights and contribute to the development of the country.
Companies can and should act. They need to diagnose the problem internally, strengthen and empower all staff, raise awareness among interest groups, integrate mechanisms and policies around gender-based violence, evaluate what they do, and follow up on cases. They need to move from indifference or intention, to strategic action.
This article is part of the “ACTÚA” Campaign: Businesses and Organizations Committed to Preventing Gender Based Violence” (ACTÚA: Empresas y organizaciones comprometidas con la prevención de la violencia basada en género), that uniRSE and the Inter-Institutional CSR Commission (Comisión Social del Comité Interinstitucional de la RSE) and Puntos de Encuentro Foundation, are implementing.