Incorporating gender-responsive human rights due diligence

A gender-responsive human rights due diligence tool

Plan International Nederland together with Partnering for Social Impact developed a ‘gender-responsive human rights due diligence’ (GR-HRDD) tool to help companies and their suppliers empower women, work towards gender equality, address actual and potential negative impacts, and reap the benefits of gender diversity and equality. With this tool, companies can apply a ‘gender lens’ as they define their human rights policies, assess and mitigate human rights risks, monitor progress, communicate outcomes, and remedy wrongs.

To learn more about human rights due diligence, you can read this article.

Starting your GR-HRDD with a Maturity Assessment

The GR-HRDD Maturity Assessment tool helps you to first identify your level of GR-HRDD maturity, as well as that of your most important suppliers. Organised along a gender continuum, the MA process helps you determine if, and how well, your company is currently identifying and addressing gender and women’s human rights issues. These insights help you further scope, focus, and develop an in-depth plan for achieving a higher level of GR-HRDD maturity. 

The six steps of the GR-HRDD process

Next, the tool effectively deals with all the steps in an HRDD process, while adding gender responsiveness into the mix. In general terms, the GR-HRDD cycle consists of six steps (based on the OECD Guidelines, UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights).

The first step is about establishing a corporate ambition & policy aimed at achieving gender equality which is embedded in your corporate governance, and understood, embraced and supported by all stakeholders. 

In the second step, you assess the likelihood of gender-specific human rights risks occurring, their impact on rights holders, and the urgency these risks must be mitigated. You analyse their root causes to determine how to effectively mitigate them and structurally address the underlying causes. It is important to speak to workers’ representatives and local organisations.  

The third step is about proactively and reactively adapting policies, decisions, processes & operations to cease, prevent or reduce gender-specific human rights risks and prevent negative impacts on rights holders. 

The fourth step is about monitoring your GR-HRDD implementation efforts, your actual progress, as well as unexpected hurdles you may have faced. These insights provide the ingredients for learning and continuous improvements. 

The fifth step is to inform your stakeholders, engage and commit them to achieve gender equality. You should communicate with them from the moment you start thinking about the relevance of gender equality. Good communication helps to create a culture and atmosphere of trust, commitment and joint ambition. 

For the sixth step, companies have to provide workers and other rights holders with a mechanism through which they can report grievances, including gender-related violations. Once reported, the company must investigate these grievances and provide appropriate and victim-centred remedies to the individuals or groups that have been harmed by a business’s activities. Centre the voices of workers in this process.

The tool comes in three main parts:

The first part of the tool explains the business case of gender equality, consists of a maturity assessment, and shows how to use a gender lens on all the six steps of your due diligence. 

The second part presents a number of inspirational practices from the RMG, as well as Cocoa and Tourism sector. 

Ready to start implementing your own GR-HRDD? Use part three of this practical workbook.