Giving Compass' Take:
- Suzanne Biegel, an advocate of "gender-smart" investing, discusses the link between corporate sustainability programming, gender equity, and reproductive justice.
- How can CSR efforts help advance women's health issues?
- Learn how CSR can support gender equity.
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The U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to set aside the constitutional right to an abortion has sparked a global debate about the role and value of reproductive rights — and about the role of corporations in a post-Roe v. Wade climate.
To explore the implications for corporate sustainability teams and ESG strategists, I spoke with Suzanne Biegel, co-founder of GenderSmart and a global leader in "gender-smart" investing that mobilizes investors to unlock capital at scale for initiatives and projects aimed at advancing gender equality.
As a GreenBiz columnist, Biegel explores the link between gender issues and the world’s ability to address climate change. I spoke with her about the impact of climate change on maternal health, where companies can turn for resources and the link between reproductive rights and labor issues.
Heather Clancy: What are the climate implications of limiting reproductive rights?
Suzanne Biegel: There is less access to healthcare overall when there are extreme weather conditions and heat conditions. So, that's one direct implication. …
Then, of course, the connection to business is that if you have women who are vulnerable in pregnancy and childbirth, then their ability to work and be part of a productive labor force is going to be disrupted. There's no question about that. And if people don't have access to reproductive health services overall, that's going to affect their ability to work. If we want women working and leading, working in good green jobs and leading climate-smart companies and climate-smart investment funds, we just have to be paying attention to what the implications are from a reproductive health standpoint. Labor force participation is the biggest implication from a business standpoint, in addition to just core human rights to bodily autonomy.
Clancy: Where do reproductive rights intersect with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)? How does this area get impacted there as well?
Biegel: We know, of course, about SDG 5. That's gender equality and very specifically we're talking about access to health [rights].
SDG 3 — "Ensure healthy lives and promote well-being for people of all ages" — is directly talking about ensuring universal access to sexual and reproductive healthcare, and that includes family planning, information education, access to services. So, that's clear.
And then, because lack of access to sexual and reproductive healthcare services and information disproportionally affects people in poverty and people in a low-income situation and people of color … who are in poverty, you have SDG 10, which is "Reduce inequalities." And so, we just know that the burden of lack of access will fall unequally on women and people of color in low-income communities. There's no question.
Read the full article about reproductive justice and ESG by Heather Clancy at GreenBiz.