Why do we need more women on standards committees? (International Women’s Day 8 March)

In a world designed by men, men’s participation in standardisation is twice as high as women’s. Many standards for products and services do not adequately address how women and men may be affected differently, and yet women influence between 64%-85% of all buying decisions globally. The use of standards and technical regulations are powerful tools to attain UN Sustainable Development Goal 5 (Achieve Gender Equality and Empower all Women and Girls). ISO has identified diversity and inclusion as key elements for the development of standards to reduce inequalities and is making a call for more women’s voices in standardization.

Women are widely under-represented in developing the standards that affect so many areas of our lives, from the infrastructure on which economies depend, to the products we consume every day and the technologies needed to address a wide range of sustainability challenges, read more here. The UNECE Gender Responsive Standards Declaration invites all standards bodies, whatever their business model and operations modality to pledge to make the standards they develop and the standards development process they use gender responsive.

The theme for the UN International Women’s Day for 2022 is Gender equality today for a sustainable tomorrow recognizing the contribution of women and girls around the world, who are leading the charge on climate change adaptation, mitigation, and response, to build a more sustainable future for all. #BreakTheBias campaign theme highlights the importance of challenging biases and misconceptions in the interest of creating a more inclusive and gender-equal world and marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity.

Read about the five ways consumer advocates can address gender inequality.

Women in Australia can influence standards by participating on Standards Australia Technical Committees. The Consumers’ Federation of Australia CFA Standards Project supports volunteer representatives to standards committees. By getting involved you can ensure products and services meet your expectations and address everyday problems — lending your experience, insights, and perspectives into how a standard will affect you and the people around you. More information from standards@consumeraction.org.au.

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