Source: ISO website
In a world designed by men, ISO has taken a big step towards gender equality and making progress on SDG 5 with its far-reaching Gender Action Plan.
Have you ever wondered why a standard-size bag of cement is comfortable for a man to lift but not so easy for a woman? Or why a brick fits snugly in a man’s hand but a woman may struggle to get her hand around it? The answer of course is because we live in a man’s world. That’s a fact that should come as no surprise to anyone. It is evident in every aspect of our lives – from bricks and mortar to our financial and political systems.
Addressing gender matters would boost global economic growth by more than 4 %. The significance of this was underscored by the 2015 International Gender Champions initiative. This network of leaders from over 60 countries – which includes Sergio Mujica, Secretary-General of ISO – brings together both women and men decision-makers who are committed to making gender equality a working reality in their sectors or spheres of influence.
A NEW STRATEGY
Progress has been slow but the pandemic has added a new urgency. Like many other organizations, ISO has responded to this challenge and is shining the gender torch on all its operations with a strategic organizational push, the Gender Action Plan, to advance the agenda on gender equality. As standards touch almost every aspect of our lives, at ISO we recognize that our organization and members have a critical role to play in advancing gender equality. Standards facilitate trade, reduce costs and support innovation, but in order to make them effective in responding to current and future challenges, gender must become an integral part of standardization not least for safety reasons.
As Mujica says: “We, at ISO, recognize that International Standards are essential tools toward reducing inequalities, creating greater sustainability and encouraging inclusive economic growth, all of which largely contribute to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, including SDG 5 on gender equality.”
Gender bias can have a serious impact on women’s health. A report in Fierce Healthcare underscores how it can create dangers in medical treatment, from cardiovascular disease to mental health and pain management. Products tested and designed by men lead to more workplace accidents and higher health risks to women in the workforce. In the UK, for example, a report by the Trades Union Congress (TUC) established that ill-fitting personal protective equipment for women was worst in the emergency services, with body armour, stab vests, high-visibility safety vests and jackets all highlighted as unsuitable.