Adapted based on the Calvert Women’s Principles

The Gender Equality Principles Initiative (GEP Initiative) is a groundbreaking program that helps companies around the world achieve greater gender equality and build more productive workplaces through practical implementation of the Gender Equality Principles (GEP).

The GEP Initiative provides companies with practical standards, tools, and resources that can be used to improve gender equality from the factory floor to the boardroom. The Gender Equality Principles address 7 fundamental issues:
  • Employment and Compensation
  • Work-Life Balance and Career Development
  • Health, Safety and Freedom from Violence
  • Management and Governance
  • Business, Supply Chain, and Marketing Practices
  • Civic and Community Engagement
  • Transparency and Accountability
Women are a critical and growing part of the global workforce. To remain competitive in a market where more equality for women often equals success for the company, businesses must learn to empower, advance, and invest in women.


Corporations will take concrete steps to attain gender equality by adopting and implementing employment policies and practices that eliminate gender discrimination in areas such as recruitment, hiring, pay, and promotion.

Key elements:
  • Pay the legal wage to all women.
  • Ensure fair and comparable wages, hours, and benefits, including retirement benefits, for all employees for comparable work.
  • Undertake concrete, verifiable actions to recruit and retain women and candidates from traditionally underrepresented groups.
  • Eliminate all forms of discrimination based on attributes such as gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or cultural stereotypes in all work-related privileges or activities, including wages, hours, benefits, job access and qualifications, and working conditions.
  • Prohibit discrimination based on marital, parental or reproductive status in making decisions regarding employment or promotion, including ensuring employment security that allows for interruptions in work for maternity, parental leave, and family-related responsibilities.
  • Implement equitable policies for non-salaried employees regarding contract work, temporary work, and layoffs that do not disproportionately affect women. Strive to pay a living wage to all women.


Corporations will take concrete steps to attain gender equality by adopting, implementing, and promoting policies and practices that enable work-life balance and support educational, career, and vocational development.

Key elements:
  • Undertake concrete, verifiable actions to make professional and private life more balanced, by implementing and promoting flexible work options, family leave, dependent care, wellness programs, and workforce exit and reentry opportunities.
  • Support access to childcare either by providing childcare services or by providing information and resources regarding childcare services.
  • Provide gender equitable opportunities for and access to literacy training, education, and certified vocational and information technology training.
  • Provide professional development opportunities that include formal or informal networking, client development activities, and mentoring programs that include women at all levels, including those women working in non-traditional fields.


Corporations will take concrete steps to attain gender equality by adopting and implementing policies to secure the health, safety, and well-being of women workers.

Key elements:
  • Prohibit and prevent all forms of violence in the workplace, including verbal, physical, or sexual harassment.
  • Ensure the safety of female employees in the workplace, in travel to and from the workplace, and on company-related business, and ensure the safety of vendors in the workplace.
  • Provide and promote policies and programs addressing domestic violence.
  • Eliminate and disclose unsafe working conditions and provide protection from exposure to hazardous or toxic chemicals in the workplace, particularly when those substances have known or suspected adverse effects on the health of women, including reproductive health.
  • Allow time-off from work for employees seeking medical care or treatment, for themselves or their dependents, including family planning, counseling, and reproductive health care, and support return to positions of equal pay and status.
  • Prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment based on health status, such as individuals with HIV/AIDS positive status.
  • Strive to provide gender equitable health services and insurance.


Corporations will take concrete steps to attain gender equality by adopting and implementing policies to ensure equitable participation in management and governance.

Key elements:
  • Establish policies and undertake proactive efforts to recruit and appoint women to managerial positions and to the corporate board of directors.
  • Establish policies and undertake proactive efforts to assure participation by women in decision-making and governance at all levels and in all areas of the business, including budgetary decision-making.
  • Include gender equality as a factor in performance measures, strategic planning goals and objectives, and budgetary decisions.


Corporations will take concrete steps to attain gender equality by adopting and implementing non-discriminatory business, supply chain, contracting, and marketing policies and practices.

Key elements:
  • Maintain ethical marketing standards by respecting the dignity of women in all sales, promotional and advertising materials, and excluding any form of gender or sexual exploitation in marketing and advertising campaigns.
  • Encourage and support women's entrepreneurship, and seek to enter into contractual and other business relationships with women-owned businesses and vendors, including micro-enterprises, and work with them to arrange fair credit and lending terms.
  • Clearly forbid business-related activities that condone, support, or otherwise participate in trafficking, including for labor or sexual exploitation.
  • Ensure that these Principles are observed not only with respect to employees, but also in relation to business partners such as independent contractors, sub-contractors, home-based workers, vendors, and suppliers.
  • Take these Principles into consideration in product and service development and major business decisions, such as mergers, acquisitions, joint venture partnerships, and financing.


Corporations will take concrete steps to attain gender equality by adopting and implementing policies to promote equitable participation in civic life and eliminate all forms of discrimination and exploitation.

Key elements:
  • Encourage philanthropic foundations associated with the entity to adhere to these Principles through their donations, grant-making, programmatic initiatives, and investments.
  • Encourage women and girls to enter non-traditional fields by providing accessible career information and training programs designed specifically for them.
  • Respect female employees’ rights to participate in legal, civic, and political affairs undefinedincluding time off to voteundefinedwithout interference or fear of repercussion or retaliation in the workplace.
  • Respect employees' voluntary freedom of association, including the voluntary freedom of association of female employees.
  • Work with governments and communities where the company does business to eliminate gender-based discrimination and improve educational and other opportunities for women and girls in those communities, including support for women's non-governmental organizations and other community groups working for the advancement of women.
  • Exercise proactive leadership in its sphere of influence to protect women from sexual harassment, violence, mutilation, intimidation, retaliation, or other denial of their basic human rights by host governments or non-governmental actors and refuse to tolerate situations where cultural differences or customs are used to deny the basic human rights of women and girls.


Corporations will take concrete steps to attain gender equality in operations and in business and stakeholder relationships by adopting and implementing policies that are publicly disclosed, monitored, and enforced.

Key elements:
  • Publicize commitment to these Principles through a CEO statement or comparably prominent means, and prominently display them in the workplace and/or make them available to all employees in a readily accessible and understandable form.
  • Develop and implement company policies, procedures, training, and internal reporting processes to ensure observance and implementation of these Principles throughout the organization.
  • Establish benchmarks to measure and monitor progress toward gender equality and report results publicly.
  • Conduct periodic self-evaluations through data collection and analysis, audits, public disclosure, and reporting on status and progress made in the implementation of these Principles.
  • Establish a clear, unbiased, non-retaliatory grievance policy allowing employees to make comments, recommendations, reports, or complaints concerning their treatment in the workplace.
  • Engage in constructive dialogue with stakeholder groups, including employees, non-governmental or non-profit organizations, business associations, investors, customers, and the media on progress in implementing the Principles.
  • Be transparent in the implementation of these Principles, and promote their endorsement and implementation by affiliates, vendors, suppliers, customers and others with whom it does business.
  • Strive to ensure that government relations and corporate political spending policies and practices incorporate these Principles.

Take the Self Assessment

This Gender Equality Principle website offers companies a self-assessment tool. This is a diagnostic tool developed to assist companies in implementing and promoting the Gender Equality Principles. It will:

    Provide a baseline of your company’s performance on issues of gender equality;
    Identify areas of strength and opportunities for improvement; and
    Deliver extensive tools and resources to assist you in creating an action plan.

Take the assessment now.

Learn more about the GEP Challenge Forum.

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