In business, its often the bottom line that drives company practices. But occasionally that can mean doing the right thing.
From Bloomberg Businessweek, an opinion piece advocates for businesses to push passage of the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA). Why are they interested?
All over the world, violence exacts a huge economic toll on women, which, in turn, drains the worldwide economy of key resources. For example, a World Bank study has found that in Nicaragua, women who reported abuse earned 46 percent less than women who did not. Women in India lost an average of seven working days after an incident of severe violence, according to the International Center for Research on Women. In many countries, girls might go to primary school, but their families will not send them to secondary schools further away for fear the girls will be subject to abuse in school by teachers or other students, or harassment on the way to school. Women who report sexual abuse in the workplace are often fired or demoted: In Kenya, for example, 95 percent of women who had experienced sexual abuse in their workplace were afraid to report the problem for fear of losing their jobs, according to the International Labor Rights Fund. U.S. businesses are not immune to the economic costs of such violence, not to mention the human costs of violence faced by employees, colleagues, or people in the communities they operate in: Raw materials, supply chains, support services, and customers are drawn from all over the world.
And what can American businesses do about it?
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Now managers in U.S. corporations can help make a difference to even more women by helping to get IVAWA passed. Specifically, managers can:
• Get their company to sign a corporate letter supporting IVAWA. It has already been endorsed by the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, TB, and Malaria.
• Encourage their corporate offices overseas to support fair treatment of women by educating them about ending violence and why it’s good for everyone;
• Educate the American workforce about IVAWA with e-mail alerts and office postings and by encouraging them to be personal advocates on the issue;
• Implement corporate social responsibility programs that help end violence against women in the overseas communities they work in.
In other business news, it turns out that Americans actually do care about their fellow worker, and the majority would prefer to work for companies that treat all employees – gay or straight – equally when it comes to providing benefits for spouses and partners.
About 62% of heterosexual respondents believe that all employees’ partners are entitled to equal benefits on the job regardless of sexual orientation and 63% think spouses and partners should receive untaxed health insurance benefits, according to the Harris Interactive, Out & Equal Workplace Advocates and Witeck-Combs Communications study. The survey involved 2,334 adults who identified themselves as heterosexual and 386 who were identified as LGBT.
Exactly 74% of heterosexual respondents think both spouses of married heterosexual employees and committed partners of LGBT employees should receive leave for employees who lose a spouse, partner or close family member; about 70% think spouses and partners should receive leave rights for family and medical emergencies under the Family and Medical Leave Act, according to the survey.
In addition, 52% of respondents said it was extremely or very important that they work for a company that offers equal health insurance benefits to all employees.
American businesses have the power to affect huge social change. Here’s hoping they do the right thing.
Mini-Roundup: Waiting in line at the DMV just got a whole lot healthier in Washington, DC. You can now get a free HIV test while waiting to renew your driver’s license. In fact, you can get up to a $15 voucher good for DMV services for participating.
- Experts call for more HIV testing – Private MD
- Sarah Palin: Abortion an ‘essential’ issue for midterms – Politico
- Majority says partners of LGBT employees deserve equal benefits – IFAwebnews.com
- The Puzzling Decline in Abortions – National Catholic Register
- Contraception? Already part of sex education in area schools – Green Bay Press Gazette
- ‘I’d hoped that coming out as transsexual might temper my anxiety’ – The Guardian
- Blogs Comment On Midwifery, Sex Education Grants, Other Topics – Medical News Today (press release)
- RDC-GADCC 13 sets activities for 18-day campaign to end violence against women – Philippine Information Agency
- Health vote haunts anti-abortion Democrats – Politico
- Health Reform Could Bridge Ethnic Health Care Gap – New America Media
- The National Coalition Launches Its Black Women’s Roundtable “Healthy, Wealthy … – BlackNews.com (press release)
- For Too Many, Domestic Violence Part of Family Life – Inter Press Service
- Filipino Catholic parents air views on birth control – ABS CBN News
- The abortion nurse’s daughter – WND.com
- Report: women’s health research lowers risk for some diseases – HealthCanal.com
- Interview: As flood waters recede, Pakistan’s pregnant women remain in crisis – Global Times
- KY-Sen: Rand Paul vs. pregnant women and newborns – Daily Kos
- Planned Parenthood in Northwest gets $20 million federal grant to fight teen … – OregonLive.com
- Not Only Abstinence-Only – The Atlantic
- Election could affect state birth control services – Dunn County News
- Study shows limits of Child Protective Services – Reuters
- Women workshop to eliminate violence – Fiji Times
- Operation Rescue Makes Statement That Randall Terry Does Not Speak or Have Any … – PR Newswire (press release)
- Legal Sex Work in Canada Just Became Easier, But Will It Be Safer? – TIME
- A Business Case to End Violence Against Women – BusinessWeek
- Just 4 Mom Ignoring abstinence – Deseret News (blog)
- Pro-life advocate sees doom, gloom over reproductive health bills – ABS CBN News
- Harms of Anti-Gay Rhetoric Lost as Media Fixates on Bishop Eddie Long Scandal – Huffington Post
- ISU sociologist studies ‘hooking up;’ promotes healthy intimate relationships – HealthCanal.com
- Mormon church has set back progress on homosexuality – The Guardian
- Should the government heed the Church’s stand on the issue of birth control? – Philippine Star
- Response to HIV testing at DMV ‘better than expected’ – Washington Post
- ‘8: The Mormon Proposition’s’ Reed Cowan Working On Gay Teen Suicide Film – On Top Magazine
- Randall Terry Going Ahead With Planned Koran Tearing Events (VIDEO) – TPMMuckraker
- Dynamo Player Featured in NOH8 Campaign – MyFox Houston
- The Media Doesn’t Glamorize Teen Pregnancy—Just Bristol Palin – Slate Magazine (blog)
- “Rape City”? The Women of Hassi Messaoud – CounterPunch
- Fenway Health support services for LGBT youth – Bay Windows
- Five dangerous sex myths and what you need to know – PSU Daily Vanguard
- HIV Positive Man Faces Charges for Not Telling Wife – WYTV
- ‘Mang Berting’ of the UP College of Medicine – Malaya
- Maternal Flu Vaccine May Prevent Flu in Infants – Food Consumer
- US: Supreme Court Will Not Order Destruction of Prop 8 Trial Video – Gayapolis
- Booze likely culprit in increased teen sex rate – The Age
- Pregnant? Flu Shots Protect Moms — and Their Babies – TIME