Investors call for a gender perspective in new EU directive  

July 15, 2022

Capturing a gender perspective in the directive would make a significant contribution to protecting women’s rights and advancing gender equality, according to BCAM 

Boston Common Asset Management (BCAM) has called upon the European Commission to ensure its Directive on corporate sustainability due diligence and annex is gender-responsive. 

The asset manager wants the directive to explicitly capture a gender perspective by recognising the gender-specific impacts of business activities. 

Additionally, the European Commission should adjust the list of “relevant violations, prohibitions, conventions and instruments”, Boston Common Asset Management said in its statement

According to BCAM, the directive only includes a selective list of violations of rights and prohibitions linked to international mechanisms it deems relevant.  

BCAM explained that the failure to mention the words “gender” or “women” in the proposal is a missed opportunity for coherence between the EU’s strategy, policies and activities.  

While the directive addresses actual and potential adverse impacts generically in a gender-neutral way, BCAM suggested it must “explicitly acknowledge the fact that women are impacted by business activities differently and disproportionately than men”. 

It was added that other intersectional aspects of identity, such as race and ethnicity, present further vulnerabilities to women.  

“These impacts are further exacerbated by crises like the Covid-19 pandemic which has disproportionately impacted women across the EU and the world,” BCAM stated. 

Elsewhere in the statement, BCAM highlighted that the directive currently suggests that companies should consult with stakeholders “where relevant” when identifying and addressing impacts. 

However, BCAM said it should elevate the importance of safe and meaningful engagement with communities and individuals affected by companies’ business activities.  

This requires ensuring effective and equitable engagement with women and other vulnerable groups across companies’ full value chains, according to BCAM.  

Additionally, it requires gender-responsive grievance mechanisms and the adequate protection of all Human Rights Defenders and Women Human Rights Defenders. 

BCAM concluded: “We encourage the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament and other relevant representatives to explicitly include a gender perspective in the Directive. We also welcome the opportunity to discuss this recommendation further with EU policymakers.” 

Last Updated: 15 July 2022