On 23 February 2022, the European Commission finally proposed draft legislation on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence. Despite some interesting features, it falls far short of what is needed to protect human rights and the environment.
The current text does not recognize the fact that business and human rights abuses have differentiated impacts on individuals and groups, for instance on women and girls. This comes as a great disappointment when over 60 organisations wrote to the European Commission in November 2021, urging them to ensure that the upcoming proposal be gender-responsive and strongly aligned with the EU Gender Equality Strategy and the Gender Action Plan III.
Gender-specific impacts on women happen in all sectors, from extractives, manufacturing and agriculture to accommodation, food services industry and the garment sector. Such issues frequently intersect with other grounds for discrimination many women are further discriminated against based on intersecting identities such as their ethnic origin, age, class, caste, migration status, gender identity and/or other factors.
This is why gender-responsive due diligence rules and corporate accountability are urgently needed to properly address these deep-seated inequalities.
Gender-responsiveness must be included in all steps of the due diligence process; if not, it will render invisible the specific risks and additional barriers faced by women and/or groups in vulnerable situations.
Furthermore, not addressing the obstacles in access to justice will continue tying the hands of affected women and girls to be able to defend themselves and demand remedy.
Read here the open letter.