This is a very timely question. As the pandemic is ravaging the world, we see that women are being disproportionately impacted. For example, we have heard reports of women health care workers being at a higher risk of contracting COVID because of ill-fitting personal protective equipment. Gender equality is not only a fundamental human right, but a necessary foundation for a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable world. As Council Chair, I am inspired and proud of the tangible action SCC has and continues to take to improve gender equality.
SCC has done an analysis, using data from 106 countries, of the impact of gender on standardization. We have identified evidence that standards are not protecting women as well as they are protecting men. This ground-breaking research is captured in SCC’s new report When One Size Does Not Protect All: Understanding Why Gender Matters for Standardization. SCC’s research is gaining worldwide recognition. Understanding how standardization impacts women is essential to taking affirmative action.
Standards are a force for good in societies, ensuring that products, services and processes work as intended. They support economic growth, facilitate trade, and play a role in protecting health and safety. By taking action to ensure that standards are gender responsive, those responsible for standards development will magnify the positive impact they can have on society as a whole.