Annamarie Reyes from 2SER’s Radio Atticus talks to Martijn Boersma, Researcher at Catalyst Australia and the University of Technology Sydney, about the Catalyst CSR Dashboard and the poor corporate reporting on labour standards and supply chains.
The recent decision by two Australian retailers to sign an accord protecting suppliers in Bangladesh has highlighted discrepancies in company disclosure of sustainability issues and the need for clearer reporting guidance.
Kmart and Target became the first Australian companies to sign the Global Union Federations’ building and safety accord, following the collapse of the Rana Plaza garment factory in Bangladesh. According to Oxfam Australia, Big W and Cotton On are also making moves to sign the accord; however, a lack of information on which companies have suppliers in Bangladesh means a potential lack of other Australian signatories.
Recent research by Catalyst Australia, a collaborative policy network, shows that this lack of supply-chain information is not an isolated incident and that significant gaps exist in sustainability reporting by Australian companies. Continue reading Mind the Gap: Company Disclosure Discrepancies not Sustainable
I recently wrote a post about the proposal to implement a quota to increase female participation in boardrooms after a mere 24 companies signed up to a voluntary pledge.
It now seems that the news of a quota has also made its way into the boardroom of the Führerbunker. In case you don’t know your internet memes, which I don’t believe for a second but still, I’ll give the video below some context: One scene of the film Downfall, in which Hitler launches into a furious rant, is frequently parodied by placing new subtitles to the footage. Initially YouTube blocked all Downfall parodies after complaints by Constantin films, but they are currently only placing advertisements on some of the uploaded videos as most parodies are viewed as fair use cases, which means that I won’t get into trouble 😉
Leading up to International Women’s Day, European Union (EU) justice commissioner Viviane Reding announced that she is considering enforcing a quota to break the glass ceiling and increase the participation of women in the boardrooms of European companies. This suggestion has stirred debate about the possible downsides of such a quota, especially in comparison with voluntary targets that aim to increase gender equality in European big business.
Sexist objections include platitudes such as the board meeting having to end at three o’clock because the CEO must pick up the children from school, half of the board of directors having synchronised menstrual cycles causing the top of the company to be instable, and CFO’s only being available on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays. Obviously, there are also serious objections to the quota. Hypothetically, a quota could mean that women that are insufficiently qualified will become members of boards, merely to meet the numbers prescribed by the European Union. This would not only make these women token board members, but it would also mean that a potentially sufficiently qualified male would be denied a job that he would be more suitable for. And would an emancipated woman really want a job that has been created thanks to a job quota? Wouldn’t she be regarded as merely having made it into the board room due to EU regulation? Continue reading Smashing the Glass Ceiling: Getting Women into European Boardrooms
Bradley Manning, the US soldier who is being accused of supplying classified military documents to Julian Assange’s WikiLeaks, appeared in front of a military court on 17 December 2011. Using a rather unusual strategy, his defence team argues that Manning has been experiencing issues regarding gender identity and sexual orientation, which have made Manning emotionally fragile and unstable. It will be very interesting, for Manning and other people experiencing issues with gender identity and sexual orientation, to see how the US legal system will deal with these statements.
Same-sex sexual orientation and the military are two topics that have a turbulent history. Bill Clinton’s policy of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell was only abolished by President Obama earlier this year, which obviously doesn’t make it any easier for individuals with same-sex sexual preference to serve in the US military. The fact that Bradley Manning experienced difficulties with his sexual orientation whilst serving in the army is not surprising. Stories of gay, lesbian and bisexual individuals experiencing difficulties in the military have made the news in multiple cases over the years. Something that is more surprising to be brought up in this context are Manning’s gender identity struggles. Although sexual orientation and the army have a known and troubled history, the history of gender identity issues and the army constitutes somewhat of a dark spot. Continue reading Bradley Manning: Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation Issues
On 13 September Human Rights Watch released the report Controlling Bodies, Denying Identities: Human Rights Violations Against Trans People in the Netherlands in which they argue that article 28 of the Dutch Civil Code violates the human rights of transgender people. According to Human Rights Watch, article 28 of the Dutch Civil Code does so because it requires transgender people to take hormones, undergo surgery and to be permanently and irreversibly sterilised before they can have their gender recognised on official legal documents.
A similar issue concerning gender identity and legal documentation became apparent in Australia in 2010 when the Sydney Morning Herald published an article about the then 48-year-old Norrie May-Welby from Sydney. Born with male sexual characteristics, May-Welby underwent hormone treatments and surgery for twenty-five years to be able to live a life as a woman, but now wanted to go through life genderless. Although the state New South Wales provided May-Welby with documentation that granted her this status, the local authorities later claimed that they could only issue documents that mention gender as being male or female.May-Welbie decided to put forward a complaint to the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations. Continue reading Thinking Outside of the Box: Gender Trouble in Australia and the Netherlands