Girls rights are everyone’s business

RJC Special Edition newsletter to celebrate International Day of the Girl and provide practical tools to integrate gender equality into your business.

Dear members, partners and supporters of RJC,

In today’s newsletter we to give you the opportunity to reflect, think, and take action. We at RJC want to highlight to you not only the importance of international day of the girl child, but what you can do to engage and play a part in making impactful change on the ground.

Gender equality, besides being a fundamental human right, is essential to achieve peaceful societies, with full human potential and sustainable development. Putting women and girls at the centre of your business strategy will drive better and more sustainable development outcomes for all and enable us to achieve Sustainable Development Goals. How can we expect to advance if we leave behind half the world’s population?  

A girl born in today’s world has, on average, remarkably improved chances to have a freer and more equal life. But there are still huge regional inequalities, with COVID 19 having deepened may of these gaps.  According to the World Economic Forum, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has meant that closing the global gender gap has increased by a generation from 99.5 years to 135.6 years.

This month RJC are hosting diversity and inclusion training on the topic of gender. After a successful first round, join us for our next session this Thursday to learn how you can really make a difference in your organisation. 

We would also encourage you to have a read of our recently released Gender Equality report. This report calls for immediate action on gender equality and unveils the urgent need for stronger commitment to SDG5 implementation. It is filled with useful tips and tools to help you commit to diversity and inclusion, for the benefit of your communities and your business. 

In this special edition newsletter, the team at RJC collected a number of tools, reports and examples to support you in your sustainability journey and inspire you to lead the way forward.
We wish to conclude with the words of Malala Yousafazi, an inspiring activist on girls and women’s rights and education. She is also a Nobel Peace Prize laureate.

"I raise my voice up – not so that I can shout, but so that those without a voice can be heard. We cannot all succeed when half of us are held back." – Malala Yousafzi.

With immense hope and sincere regards,
Iris and David 



International Day of the Girl Child is an international observance day declared by the United Nations; it is also called the Day of Girls and the International Day of the Girl. Every year has a different theme, this year is the digital divide. 

The gender digital divide in connectivity, devices and use, skills and jobs is real. It is an inequity and exclusion gap across geographies and generations that is our challenge to address if the digital revolution is to be for all, with all, by all. Let’s seize the momentum to drive action and accountability of GEF commitments made, for and with girls to achieve a bold vision of bridging the digital gender divide.

Girls know their digital realities and the solutions they need to excel on their diverse pathways as technologists for freedom of expression, joy, and boundless potential. Let’s amplify the diversity of these tech trailblazers while simultaneously widening the pathways so that every girl, this generation of girls – regardless of race, gender, language, ability, economic status and geographic origin – lives their full potential.




Share stories of inspiring adolescent girls or girl-led organizations who are developing innovative solutions or leading efforts towards positive social change, including gender equality, in their communities and nations. Let’s amplify their leadership, actions and impact to inspire others. 


Participate in a youth-led digital activation launching on International Day of the Girl. Young people across the world are developing a digital activism campaign, aiming to raise the diversity of girls’ voices and their vision for a reimagined future.



Women in leadership starts with empowered girls. Today, you can advocate shared key messages, raise awareness and demand actions from stakeholders and decision-makers.

Twenty-five years ago, 30,000 women and men from nearly 200 countries arrived in Beijing, China, for the Fourth World Conference on Women, determined to recognize women's rights as human rights. In the years following, women pressed this agenda forward, leading global movements on issues ranging from sexual and reproductive health rights to equal pay.

Today, these movements have expanded. They are being organized by and for adolescent girls – girls from all walks of life who are boldly demanding action against discrimination, violence and poor learning opportunities. 

Share Day of the Girl Child media assets and show your support today

Download the resources


The Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) are a set of Principles offering guidance to business on how to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace and community. Established by UN Global Compact and UN Women, the WEPs are informed by international labour and human rights standards and grounded in the recognition that businesses have a stake in, and a responsibility for, gender equality and women’s empowerment.


5. ENGAGE   

RJC Generation Equality Series. SDG5 in Action Workshops. 

Getting Practical: Actions to Advance Gender Equality in the Jewellery Sector  
RJC in continued collaboration with BSR will be hosting two 75-minute workshops for RJC members and industry stakeholders on how to incorporate gender equality at the core of their business strategy.  

Building on the launch of our first Gender Equality Report, the workshops will provide a high-level overview on key findings within the report on the current status and challenges, and will provide insight on how the private sector can advance gender equality in their organisation across four key dimensions: commitments and policies, talent attraction, retention and training, creating a culture of inclusion, and value-chain initiatives.  

Session 1
Tuesday 12 October 2021 
10:00 am BST
Recording coming soon!

Session 2
Thursday 14 October 2021
14:00 pm BST
Register now


We strongly believe the time is now to accelerate action on the ground to advance gender equality. That is why the RJC started the ‘Generation Equality SDG 5 in Action’ Dialogue in collaboration with CIBJO. This report shares the results of this stakeholder engagement and makes recommendations for next steps.

A special thank you to so many different voices around the table who have embarked on this journey in preparing this first report, UN WOMEN, United Nations Global Compact, IMPACT, World Diamond Council, Women’s Jewelry Association, BSR and many of our RJC members. We cannot wait. We must already plan how we can ‘build back better’ for women and girls across the world. We are counting on your leadership and support.

Download the report 



Women in the Jewellery Supply: A Landscape Review of Barriers to Women’s Economic Empowerment

This paper explores the role of women in jewelry supply chains and the challenges they face to their wellbeing and advancement. This white paper has been prepared for a convening in April 2018 that will bring together key stakeholders in the jewelry value chain, from mining companies and manufacturers to retailers and brands, to explore how the jewelry industry can be a positive driver of women’s empowerment and gender equality.



World Day Against Child Labour

On World Day Against Child Labour, read what RJC's Executive Director talked about this critical topic, read a special edition article by Jo Becker, Children’s Rights Advocacy Director for Human Rights Watch, on the impact of COVID-19 on child labour, and look through some informative reports to learn more. 

Read more


Gender Impact Assessment for Projects and Policies Related to Artisanal and Small-Scale Mining 

Artisanal and small-scale mining (ASM) is a vital part of the global jewellery and watch industry. However, it is also an area where women are confined to low-paying jobs and face discrimination and gendered violence, as well as a lack of access to financing and resources.

Download IMPACT’s Gender Impact Assessment (GIA) Toolkit and help ensure ASM-related initiatives meaningfully help push gender equality forward.


Report - World Economic Forum

Global Gender Gap Report 2021

Another generation of women will have to wait for gender parity, according to the World Economic Forum’s Global Gender Gap Report 2021. As the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic continues to be felt, closing the global gender gap has increased by a generation from 99.5 years to 135.6 years.

Download the report


Women in the Workplace 2020

This is a critical moment for corporate America. Companies risk losing women in leadership—and future women leaders—and unwinding years of painstaking progress toward gender diversity.

The events of 2020 have turned workplaces upside down. Under the highly challenging circumstances of the Covid-19 crisis, many employees are struggling to do their jobs. Many feel like they’re “always on” now that the boundaries between work and home have blurred. They’re worried about their family’s health and finances. Burnout is a real issue.

Women in particular have been negatively impacted. Women—especially women of color—are more likely to have been laid off or furloughed during the Covid-19 crisis, stalling their careers and jeopardizing their financial security.



The World for Women and Girls

Annual Report 2019-2020

We must not rebuild the old world but make women and girls central to plans that bring a better future. The COVID-19 pandemic has brought new visibility and profile to the essential roles that
women play in our social, political and economic systems, from frontline healthcare workers, trusted leaders, to household masterminds. It demonstrated also how many public and private systems depend on women performing multiple and often underpaid roles, and the fragility of that construction.

It is time to act on that understanding and to commit to building back in ways that reflect its sharp lessons. This report demonstrates multiple ways, both before and during the pandemic, in which intentional investment in and by women brings stronger, more just, equal and resilient societies. 



Women's Empowerment and Business: 2020 Trends and Opportunities

Around the world, companies now recognize the value of actively supporting women throughout business operations, from the boardroom to the supply chain to impacted communities. More than 2,000 companies have used the WEPs Gender Gap Analysis Tool, an online resource for companies to anonymously assess gender equality performance across the workplace, marketplace, and community. This report presents the aggregate findings of the tool for selected indicators.



Engage with ASM

Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) has joined a call to action urging the gold and jewellery industry to include Artisanal Scale Mining (ASM) in their sourcing policies and practices.

The ASM sector employs approximately 42 million people, with more than 150 million people worldwide depend on mining to make a living. The greatest opportunity for the gold and jewellery industry to generate positive economic, social and environmental impact is to support artisanal and small-scale miners. Recycling and closed loop measures have significant environmental benefits, but given the millions of people who depend on artisanal and small-scale mining, companies that choose 100% recycled gold are disengaging from urgent needs in their supply chain.

We encourage the industry to have a sourcing strategy that includes recycled and responsible metals from artisanal and small-scale mining.


This statement is signed by a variety of civil society as well as small-scale mining organizations. For more information and to view the full list, please refer to the joint statement.

Advancing gender equality and increasing women's leadership in business is critical to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. UNGCs Target Gender Equality Global Impact Initiative is calling on and supporting businesses to set and meet ambitious targets. 
Through this channel UNGC will share stories of action and impact across the globe, featuring Global Compact companies and the individuals that are driving change within their organizations and beyond. We will also showcase the work of our Target Gender Equality Global Coalition member organizations that can further support business in advancing progress on gender equality.


Updates from organizations in the TGE Global Coalition:



Five actions for gender equality in the Covid-19 Response

UNICEF is committed to ensuring gender equality is at the heart of our COVID-19 response, especially as on front-line service delivery, system-strengthening support, and advocacy and communications. We continue to work alongside our United Nations sister agencies, government partners, civil society collaborators and private-sector allies.

To that end, UNICEF prioritizes five core programmatic and advocacy actions that recognize the public health, social and economic consequences of this pandemic:

1. Care for caregivers.
2. Prepare for increases in gender-based violence throughout the COVID-19 outbreak.
3. Maintain core health and education services and systems.
4. Engage women's and youth rights networks to support connectivity and the flow of vital information.
5. Ensure gender data are available, analyzed and actionable.



Protect the Progress: Rise, Recover, Refocus

2020 Progress Report on the Every Woman Every Child Global Strategy for Women’s, Children’s and Adolescents’ Health (2016–2030)

"It is our collective responsibility to ensure that progress for women, children and young people is not reversed by conflict, the climate crisis or COVID-19. The will to fight the pandemic must be matched by the will to honour the commitments and investments that have been made. Failure to do so could result in close to 23 million 5- to 24-year-olds and 48 million children under five dying before 2030 – an unconscionable prospect. I call on all to refocus our efforts so that maternal, child and adolescent health is not neglected as we respond to the COVID-19 crisis. Together, we can and must steer the recovery from the pandemic towards a more inclusive and sustainable path, leaving no woman, child or adolescent behind." António Guterres



COVID could condemn women to decades of poverty: Implications of COVID-19 on Women’s Economic Justice and Rights

740 million women work in the informal sector, which has been worst hit by the economic fall out of the coronavirus. Furthermore women are less likely to benefit from recovery and stabilisation measures, as gender and social norms prohibit access to economic opportunities and financial resources.

A new study by CARE International 'COVID could condemn women to decades of poverty: Implications of COVID-19 on Women’s Economic Justice and Rights' reveals how the global pandemic is having a real and immediate economic impact on women in the developing world.

Key findings of the report include:
  • Women and girls face a particular risk of infection due to the types of work that they do. For example, women make up over 70 percent of the global health and social workforces
  • Economic downturns particularly affect women and girls. Many are employed in the sectors hardest hit by the pandemic—including domestic work, entertainment, retail, smallholder farming, tourism, and travel—as well as in the informal economy and as migrant workers.
  • Women’s and girls’ economic opportunities are diminished. As unpaid care burdens are increasing, livelihood opportunities are decreasing, and women entrepreneurs may find it difficult to rebuild their livelihoods.
  • Women’s and girls’ access to financial services is decreasing. An economic downturn will especially affect women’s financial inclusion, including access to loans and savings mechanisms. However, access to these resources will be vital for overcoming the crisis.
  • Gender-based violence—of all types—is on the rise and risking lives. Women and girls are more exposed to domestic violence while quarantined with their abusers. Financial stress and unemployment are further contributing to an increased risk, and work-based violence has also been increasing, particularly for frontline workers.
  • Lack of women's and girls’ leadership and voice and regressing norms. Women and girls are already marginalised from decision-making within their households, communities, and the wider economy, yet frequently hold the key to solutions given their role in communities. COVID-19 further puts these hard-won gains at stake.



The Impact of Covid-19 on the Women, Peace and Security Agenda

Women appear to be disproportionately affected by Covid-19 and there is pushback on global commitment to gender equality but gender equality and human development are correlated - focussing on gender equality will have a catalytic effect on the SDGs. The increasing strain on peace operations is likely to have a negative effect on the WPS agenda.





RJC Code of Practices Standard and Guidance

At the Responsible Jewellery Council, and at the heart of our Code of Practices, we aim to create a business environment where all women are considered equal, setting standards for what equality should look like in the jewellery industry. Our standards have a gender lens included, specifically on provisions:

COP 15 – General employment terms

COP 16 – Working hours

COP 17 – Remuneration

COP 18 – Harassment, discipline, grievance procedures and non-retaliation

COP 22 – Non-discrimination 

COP 23 – Health & Safety

COP 32 – Stakeholder engagement

COP 41 – Mercury

Download the report 
L E A D  W I T H  P U R P O S E

Responsible Jewellery Council (RJC) is the world’s leading standard-setting organisation for the global jewellery and watch industry.

Our members are helping to transform supply chains to be more responsible and sustainable – catalysing partnerships, underpinning trust in the global jewellery and watch industry and securing a future that can be treasured for generations to come.

To learn more visit:
Copyright © 2021 Responsible Jewellery Council, All rights reserved.

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