Exploring gender equality and women's empowerment: a critical examination of select L'Oréal corporate documents

Abstract

Although women make up half of the world’s population and over 40 percent of the global labour force, gender inequality is still prevailing. The formal commitment of the United Nations and the World Bank to achieve women’s equality is crucial to addressing the challenges of development and poverty; however, there is no part of the world where women and men are equal. Moreover, gender equality is worsened by globalization, in which private actors such as multinational companies play a controversial role. L’Oréal, the world’s largest beauty corporation, employed approximately 52,000 women in 2013. The company is a signatory of the United Nations Global Compact (2000), and supports the United Nation’s Women’s Empowerment Principles (2010). Although L'Oréal claims that it is engaged in socially responsible corporate practices, with particular attention to issues of gender equality, few critical analyses of these claims exist. This research, a case study analysis of L’Oréal’s gender equality and women’s empowerment policies, concludes that the company’s concept of gender equality is limited, focusing on professional and workplace equality

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This paper was published in Memorial University Research Repository.

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