Outputs: The project will do the following:
a) Build off the existing work that APEC has done to promote workplace health and safety for women, and other efforts in promoting economic inclusion in the workplace, including but not limited to efforts under the Healthy Women, Healthy Economy initiative.
b) Conduct a desktop study, and pre-workshop survey for the relevant gender coordination agencies, labour agencies and private institutions, on best practices and internationally recognized standards and practices relating to workplace health and safety generally, with an added focus on issues facing women in the workplace. The desktop study will be to gather information on potential best practices and gender smart policies that can be discussed the workshop and incorporated as elements of the prototype.
c) Run a two day workshop to share best practices and experiences in both the private and public sectors. The Workshop will draw on experts to discuss barriers faced by women in the workplace, and challenges that continue to impede the building of conducive working environments for women. The workshop is also intended to get both experts and representatives from APEC economies to share effective responses and measures taken to address barriers and challenges globally and in their respective economies.
d) Based on the discussions and outcomes of the workshop and other project activities, a Compendium on best practices of APEC economies will be developed which highlights specific initiatives, efforts and measures applied in member economies that have had and continue to have an impact on improving working environments for women. The compendium will look to feature at least one initiative per economy and will be submitted on a voluntary basis.
e) Develop the APEC Gender Smart Workplace Prototype that draws from well-established principles, internationally accepted practices, and may include common best practices of economies, to give member economies a referencing tool in which efforts in developing and enhancing workplaces to make them more gender-sensitive can be voluntarily self-assessed. The prototype will highlight collectively agreed upon principles and best practices, and will serve more as a check-list/benchmarking tool.
f) A video will be produced about the workshop, and contain participants and experts views on the issue, as well as feature three (at the most) success stories on the implementation and benefits of gender smart workplaces in member economies.
g) A follow-up survey in 2019, to track progress on work that members may have undertaken post workshop.
Outcomes: The project takes into account the work that has been done in APEC on gender inclusion, particularly on workplace health and safety. It is intended for the workshop to draw specific focus to the importance of the issue and to create a better understanding of the economic and social nexus. This project will kick start a specific conversation on the subject from which further discussions may ensue.
Project activities such as the desktop study and literature review will also provide the necessary data on matters relevant to the notion of gender smart workplaces. It will also pull together information on ongoing initiatives and efforts regionally and globally, and draw together work being progressed in various international forums. Information and data collated from this project will allow APEC to consider future work in this area.
The hosting of the workshop will provide a platform for exchanges and the sharing of information on this important topic. It will create a sense of awareness for government officials, private sector representative and non-governmental organizations on the economic impacts that gender smart policies and practices can have, and the correlation between such efforts and productivity and other socio-economic factors. The workshop will also provide an opportunity for policymakers and businesses to inform themselves of important considerations and good practices within region which may be adapted at the domestic level and in specific organizations.
The prototype will allow decision makers within APEC economies to benchmark efforts and current practices within their organizations against agreed elements, standards and best practices from within the region and globally. The prototype may be used as a checklist to see whether key elements of a gender smart workplace are sufficiently incorporated into organizational practices, policies etc.
Exchanges between the private sector and policy makers will be useful in identifying deficiencies in current systems, and to look at future areas for cooperation. This will ensure the much needed business/private sector participation input into the conversation.
1) Government officials and policy makers with sufficient level of seniority to influence policy and regulation from APEC member economies will benefit greatly from this project. Government officials from Labour, Gender, Industry agencies. Participants from the government are expected to be from organizations responsible for gender policy development and/or workplace health, safety and inclusion matters. The participants themselves should be directly involved in policy/regulation development or enforcement. Being privy to the information exchanged will allow for participants to be aware of ongoing initiatives and innovation in the area and relevant information and data that will allow them to better carry out their work.
2) Government and government agencies will benefit from the project through better policies regulating workplace environment and promoting gender inclusion. Increased levels of productivity of women in the workplace associated with better policies and more conducive environments will contribute to a productive workforce, government efficiency, and economic growth.
3) Businesses shall benefit from the outcomes of the project through learning effective ways to improve working conditions and environments to get the best out of women employees, and building cultures of inclusion. Women in turn can contribute more meaningfully if barriers that affect their full participation are kept to a minimum. Improved performance of women employees can have a positive impact on business performance.
4) Women in general will benefit from this project through workplace conditions and environments which are gender inclusive and responsive to their needs. Ideally, a gender smart workplace takes into account social and family obligations of women and tailors workplace policies and operations that are conducive for employees and in turn beneficial to businesses. Whilst there is focus on women in formal employment, this project will be an impetus for future work in APEC addressing conditions of women in less formal employment and the informal sector.
5) There are underlying economic benefits that are derived from increased participation and productivity of women in economic activities. It contributes to reduced levels of poverty and associated socio-economic issues such as gender-based violence (GBV) in the workplaces, or GBV incidences that contribute to poor performance of women in the workplace. Greater economic participation of women positively impacts economic growth, and has been proven to have a greater impact on families and their disposable income.