The importance of gender equality at the global level is evidenced by the fact that the United Nations has declared this area one of the 17 goals of sustainable development.
In recent years, gender equality has been one of the most current topics in the world. Boosting gender equality has become a key issue for the progress of modern society, without which it is impossible to achieve a balanced functioning of all its segments. Although much progress has been made recently in reducing gender inequalities, disparities remain significant and the economic gap between men and women is widening.
The importance of gender equality at the global level is evidenced by the fact that the United Nations has declared this area one of the 17 goals of sustainable development. These goals are, at the same time, a call for global action to combat poverty, provide equal access to natural resources for all inhabitants of the planet and provide them with equal conditions for development regardless of gender, race, nationality or any other personal characteristics.
Women’s position in the business world
The business world is a particularly interesting segment in terms of gender equality. We live in a time when we spend most of our day in the office, and mega-companies have a great impact not only on the economy but also on community development, adoption of social trends and ecology. That is why the responsibility of companies is growing when it comes to creating equal opportunities for both sexes.
Although the situation has been improving over time, it is clear that there is still much room for improvement globally. According to the United Nations, women hold only about 28 per cent of managerial positions in the business world. At the same time, on average, they are still paid less than men for the same jobs, and they are also at a significantly higher risk of poverty. The Covid-19 pandemic has further aggravated the situation in this area, having in mind the jobs that women do, but also the fact that in the household they usually do unpaid household chores and take care of children and the elderly.
It was also recorded that women are underrepresented in almost all fast-growing areas of business. Therefore, large companies, which have the capacity and ability to positively influence change, play a significant role in the positive shift in equality between men and women, especially because the latest human resources trends are focusing on satisfied and motivated employees as one of the most important prerequisites for business success.
Gender equality is a complex area in which progress is made through the synergy of the state, companies, and the non-governmental sector.
Support and equal opportunities for all
NIS is one of the companies that operate in our market that has gender equality deeply rooted in its business. Its employees are the most valuable resource for this company, about 11,000 of them, a third of whom are women. In NIS, diversity is perceived, not as a threat, but as an opportunity to merge the best experiences and thus improve the operations of the entire organization. Numerous activities that NIS is undertaking in this field speak in favour of that, and the gradual return of employees from maternity leave and a day off for employed mothers whose children are starting elementary school are just some of them. Furthermore, the company makes no difference in salaries based on gender and encourages the training and professional development of all its employees.
“For us, equality is a daily practice that we diligently improve on a day-to-day basis. A working environment in which the equality of all employees is unconditionally respected is a priority for NIS. Gender equality is one of the foundations of the company’s sustainable development,” NIS has said.
NIS as a good example
The importance of gender equality for our largest oil company is also evidenced by the fact that NIS participated in holding a panel discussion dedicated to gender equality, in partnership with the Coordination Body for Gender Equality and the UN Agency for Gender Equality UN Women. At that panel, Jelena Popara, Director of NIS’s Internal Audit and Risk Management Function, pointed out, among other things, that NIS encourages women to pursue occupations that are traditionally perceived as male, and that there are more than 500 women among the 1,850 engineers in the company.
“Gender equality is a complex area in which progress is made through the synergy of the state, companies, and the non-governmental sector. That is why the support our company provides to the community is of great importance for us. Through various programmes, the company has spent more than 4 billion dinars for those purposes since 2009. We will continue in that direction,” said Jelena Popara.
Blerta Cela, UN Women’s Deputy Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, said women were key drivers of change that could shape the habits of the whole family when it comes to energy use and other environmental activities. She also stated that we cannot develop sustainable energy solutions if we do not take into account the main energy consumers who take care of the household, and those are women.