How to fight inequalities as a company and in everyday life
Author: Gabriela Basso
Estimated reading time: 10 min
“Reduce inequality within and among countries” is the definition of SDG 10. The tenth of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The goal’s purpose is to achieve equalities of opportunities, treatments, and outcomes (5). In other words, everyone should be treated with equality and prosperity, despite their sex, race, gender, orientation, social background, physical abilities (2), and other non-work related characteristics.
Reducing inequalities contributes to creating a more stable and predictable business environment, at the same time it boosts innovation and profitability with the introduction of more diversity in the workplace. However, today’s reality is far different. Recently, the benefit of economic growth has favored the world’s richest in a disproportionate way (5).
The richest 10% earn up to 40% of total global income while the poorest 10% earn between 2 to 7% of it (4). Furthermore, the pandemic significantly increased existing inequalities within and among countries and territories, especially the most vulnerable people and the poorest countries (1).
Within countries, disparities are evident in terms of rural/urban areas, household wealth, gender, ethnic minorities, disability to name a few (3), and many of these groups still do not have equal access to opportunities (5).
Between 2014 and 2020, data from 44 countries showed that almost one in five people reported having personally experienced discrimination, women being more likely to be victims than men (1).
Having this in mind, UN Women works with governments and civil society to ensure gender equality in all spheres within and among countries. Therefore, it’s clear that SDG 10 is linked with SDG 5 to improve the condition of women and girls worldwide (9).
However, gender equality is still facing significant challenges in every society. Women, especially single-mother households, are more likely to live below 50% of median income compared to men (8).
Additionally, many times, women around the world have to deal with the lack of access to decent work, occupational segregation, gender wage gaps, access to basic education and health care denied. Not to mention that often, they suffer violence and discrimination (9).
Another issue is that gender inequalities often leave poorer countries without the proper resources to implement policies to guarantee that standards are effectively implemented to assist women (8).
Equality between men and women is a basic human right, and on top of that, it also has an important impact on the economy, as it encourages productivity and economic growth (9).
Meanwhile, also aiming to reduce inequality, the importance of humanitarian interventions to refugees and persons who have been forced to leave their places of habitual residence has become unquestionable.
Therefore, for a better understanding of the issue, an indicator on refugees was developed “the number of refugees by country of origin as a proportion of the total population of that country of origin” (7). In other words, it is the number of people from a country that is displaced abroad.
The amount of refugees around the world has more than doubled since 2010, reaching the highest level record in 2020. Even though the pandemic resulted in restrictions at borders across many countries, the number of people who continue to leave their homes because of war, conflict, persecution and human rights violations has grown to 24 million (1).
Their journey across deserts and seas is extremely dangerous, and many times refugees are not able to complete it. In 2020, 4.186 deaths and disappearances were recorded on migratory routes worldwide (1).
Not to mention that the causes of forced migration are traumatizing, especially for children as they are more vulnerable to violence, exploitation and abuse. Another major concern is that many times, young girls are targets of gender-based violence and trafficking (10).
Apart from all the danger refugees have to face in their journey, it is also extremely hard for them to restart life and regain a sense of normality. For this reason, having an indicator in SDG 10 that aims to “facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people” (1) is essential to guarantee refugee’s protections and access to basic human rights.
Having said that, aiming for the achievement of SDG 10, the private sector has a crucial role to play. Companies can contribute by having inclusive business models that provide equality through people despite their non-work related characteristics.
How companies can reduce inequality
It is clear that businesses are important for economic growth, as they create jobs, foster economic activity and contribute through tax revenues for public services and infrastructure. On the other hand, there still are businesses that perpetuate biases and discrimination, and for this reason, they are responsible for exacerbating inequality (3).
All businesses have to respect and support human rights. This includes the adoption of policies to empower the bottom percentile of income earners, as well as promote economic inclusion of all (4).
With this in mind, we now present a list of actions that companies can implement to have a positive impact on addressing the achievement of reducing inequality.
Support movements that promote equality
If you care about equality you should take action and support movements that fight against inequality. Some examples are Black Lives Matter, Empower Women, LGBT rights.
Assistance migrants and refugees in your communities
Companies can provide education, improve the access to healthcare, provide mental health assistance in order to create a better livelihood for refugees.
This way, your business can improve access to basic goods and services for people living in poverty.
Implement policies within the company to support equality
Companies can implement policies to support equality of opportunity, treatment, and outcomes for their employees. These actions will ensure non-discrimination within the company.
Another measure would be to recruit, train and employ local people living in scarcity conditions.
In addition, the company must follow the principle of equal pay for equal work, instead of having pay gaps based on gender, religion or other discriminating factors.
Support the development of products and services that benefit marginalized populations
Supporting the development of products and services that benefit mainly marginalized groups, will contribute significantly to improve their living conditions, allowing them to live better lives.
Sources: (3), (11), (5).
Startups to take inspiration from
Having explained the importance of reducing inequality, GründerAtelier provides here a list of startups that work towards the achievement of this goal, so you can take inspiration from them.
Migration Hub was founded by a migrant, CEO Ana Maria Alvarez Monge and currently has Hubs in Germany, Italy, Belgium, Finland, Israel, and Jordan. The company is comprised of other entities that help migrants and refugees by creating a global network that works to maximize impact.
Migration Hub offers spaces for local projects and sectors in hopes of fostering innovation. At the same time it offers mentoring and training programs to migrants and entrepreneurs; promotes the connection and collaboration of social projects around the world; offers consulting services to companies, NGOs, and governmental institutions.
MEnt is an incubation and mentoring program for migrants and refugees to foster their economic and social integration. Therefore, anyone who is a migrant and/or refugee and has a legal residence status can apply for this mentoring program online.
To conclude the project entrepreneurs can showcase their business ideas in a final pitch.
TERN – The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network
TERN is an enterprise that supports UK refugees to develop their early-stage businesses. Therefore, the company offers expert advice, mentorship, access to business networks and business finance so the entrepreneurs can start their business plans.
They provide three stages of business support: introduction; specialist workshops; and, individual support sessions to help specific business development.
Based in Norway, Skillhus is a startup that enables companies to set up diverse and inclusive hiring practices. Their mission is to bridge the gap between skilled migrants and refugees and the Norwegian job market.
Through workshops and training, the company helps to increase diversity in leadership roles. And therefore, create awareness around values like diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging.
What can you do in your daily life to help reduce inequality?
Now that we talked about what entrepreneurs can do to contribute to the achievement of SDG 10, it is time to suggest some good practices that everyone can follow in their daily lives.
- Raise your voice against all types of discrimination. Everyone should be treated with equality, prosperity, and respect, despite their sex, gender, orientation, social background, and physical abilities.
- Make sure you know what your rights are at work. Don’t accept inequality.
- Support migrants and refugees. You can not only be a volunteer in your communities but also help to donate clothes, food, or other needed materials.
- Listen to women carefully. You should not interrupt them, instead, show interest and respect.
GründerAtelier’s Impact Accelerator
This was the tenth article of our SDGs series, which aims to make the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals easy to put into practice for startups and entrepreneurs, in general.
If you are in charge or work for an impact-related startup that supports one or multiple SDGs you can apply to our Impact Accelerator where we will guide you through the journey to become investment-ready and, then, introduce you to our VC partners.
(1) Goal 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries. (n.d.). United Nations. https://sdgs.un.org/goals/goal10. Accessed on 17/09/21.
(2) 10 Reduced Inequalities. (n.d.). Retrieves from The Global Goals. https://www.globalgoals.org/10-reduced-inequalities. Accessed on 15/09/21.
(3) SDG 10: Reduce inequality within and among countries. (n.d.). Retrieved from SDG Compass website: https://sdgcompass.org/sdgs/sdg-10/. Accessed on 15/09/21.
(4) Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities. (n.d.). Retrieved from UNDP Seoul Policy Centre for Knowledge Exchange through SDG Partnerships website: https://www1.undp.org/content/seoul_policy_center/en/home/sustainable-development-goals/goal-10-reduced-inequalities.html. Accessed on 18/09/21.
(5) 10. Reduced Inequalities. (n.d.). Retrieved from Blueprint website: https://blueprint.unglobalcompact.org/sdgs/sdg10/. Accessed on 15/09/21.
(6) Nahmias, P. (2019). Including forced displacement in the SDGs: a new refugee indicator. Retrieved from UNHCR Blogs website: https://www.unhcr.org/blogs/including-forced-displacement-in-the-sdgs-a-new-refugee-indicator/. Accessed on 15/09/21.
(7) Nahmias, P., & Baal, N. K. (2019). Leaving no (Refugee) Behind: The New Indicator on Refugees in the SDG Indicator Framework is a Game-Changer. Retrieved from JIPS website: https://www.jips.org/news/10-iaeg-new-indicator-on-refugees-sdg-indicator-framework-a-game-changer/. Accessed on 15/09/21.
(8) SDG 10 : Reduce inequality within and among countries. (n.d.). Retrieved from UN Women website: https://eca.unwomen.org/en/news/in-focus/women-and-the-sdgs/sdg-10-reduced-inequalities. Accessed on 15/09/21.
(9) About UN Women. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.unwomen.org/en/about-us/about-un-women. Accessed on 15/09/21.
(10) 5 UNIQUE CHALLENGES FACING REFUGEES. (2020). Retrieved from Concern Worldwide US website: https://www.concernusa.org/story/refugee-children-unique-challenges/.Accessed on 15/09/21.
(11) A QUICK GUIDE FOR BUSINESS – SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT GOALS. (n.d.). Retrieved from B1G1 website: https://b1g1.com/sustainable-development-goals-guide?gclid=CjwKCAjwybyJBhBwEiwAvz4G72UwrGHm49kDP9rKO4X6w0j7dA4TAfjwzKS53UN0_oHyGjW44CMZMBoCP-sQAvD_BwE#Industry-Innovation.Accessed on 16/09/21.
(12) Rahman, A. (n.d.). 11 Brilliant Startup Accelerators and Incubators for Migrant Entrepreneurs to Kick-Start. Retrieved from https://startupswb.com/11-brilliant-startup-accelerators-and-incubators-for-migrant-entrepreneurs.html. Accessed on 17/09/21.
(13) Skillhus. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003039419-33. Accessed on 20/09/21.