SDG 5 : Gender Equality

Achieve gender equality and empower all women and girls.

SDG5 aims to end all forms of discrimination against women and girls, everywhere, including the end to violence and other harmful practices, and the full participation of women in leadership at all levels of political, economic, and public life.

Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right but a necessary foundation for a healthy society. Ensuring women and girls have equal access to education, health care, employment, and representation in decision-making processes is a vital part of promoting sustainable economies and brings significant benefits to society at large.

While there is some indication of progress toward gender equality, there remain significant legal and cultural barriers to its achievement. Economically, women represent 39% of world employment, but only 27% of managerial positions are occupied by women. There are also still significant gaps in legal protection when it comes to women’s employment rights and access to economic benefits.

How the cement and concrete industry is making a positive difference

There is a range of essential infrastructure and services that is necessary to achieve SDG5 goals and for which concrete offers a durable, cost-effective and widely-available building material.

At the most basic level, this means safe and sanitary toilets. But it also encompasses clean water and energy infrastructure – which removes the burden often borne by women and girls to collect water and fuel and so allows time for their full participation in economic, social, and leadership activities – as well as sexual and reproductive healthcare [Link to SDG3] facilities and schools.

Moreover, as key employers and economic contributors to the countries, regions, and communities in which they operate, cement and concrete companies play an important role supporting SDG5 goals in their day-to-day business practices through:

  • Fair and transparent hiring practices.
  • Equal access to training and professional development programmes.
  • Support for safe childcare provision to allow women into work.
  • Equal pay for equal work.
  • Gender sensitivity and sexual harassment awareness programmes.
  • The effective participation of women in managerial and leadership positions.
  • Support of women-led businesses in supply chains.
  • The inclusion of women in stakeholder consultation processes.

The industry as a whole is also taking steps to encourage women into the industry: for example, the Global Cement and Concrete Industry Women’s Network was launched on International Women’s Day 2019, while a number of cement companies have adopted the UN Women Empowerment Principals.

Case Studies

Being a woman in the construction industry

We took the pledge: Women Empowerment Principals

CEMEX signs UN Women’s Empowerment Principles

Book launches to inspire Vale youngsters