Calvert Women's Principles®
Celebrating 10 Years of Empowering Women 

At Calvert we recognize that equality and diversity are as important to you as they are to us. That’s why, in June 2004, in partnership with the United National Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Calvert launched the Calvert Women’s Principles®: the First Global Code of Corporate Conduct focused exclusively on empowering, advancing, and investing in women worldwide. And today, the Calvert Women’s Principles form the foundation of two key initiatives that are impacting women around the world.

Ten years ago, many of us here at Calvert Investments were dismayed at the status of women in the working world, and we decided to do something about it. There was a lack of equity at all levels, from the bottom of the manufacturing supply chain straight up to the corporate boardroom. Even as multiple initiatives around the world sought to improve women’s status in society, the private sector remained largely

That’s why, in June 2004, in partnership with UN Women (then UNIFEM), Calvert launched the Calvert Women’s Principles®: the First Global Code of Corporate Conduct focused exclusively on empowering, advancing, and investing in women worldwide (see full details below).

As we celebrate the 10th anniversary of this landmark achievement, we have released a special report highlighting the Principles – Past, Present and Future. We continue to promote uptake and implementation of the Principles, in the hopes that they become standard business practice. We will continue our broader diversity work, including our shareholder activism and our annual publication of in-depth corporate diversity research. And we will keep leading the way in promoting workplace diversity for a healthier society and thriving businesses.

Today, the Calvert Women’s Principles form the foundation of two key initiatives that are impacting women around the world.

The Gender Equality Principles Initiative (GEP)

Gender Equality PrinciplesThe Gender Equality Principles Initiative (GEP), a joint effort in partnership with the City of San Francisco’s Department on the Status of Women and Verité, translates the Principles into practical policies, guidelines, indicators, and other performance tools. Visit the companion website — — to evaluate your corporate performance and set measurable targets for improvement.

The Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP)

Women's Empowerment PrinciplesThe Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP), spearheaded by the UN Global Compact and UNIFEM, aims to engage with global businesses on steps they can take to advance and empower women. Visit the United National Global Compact website to read more about this important initiative.

Seven Core Principles

The Calvert Women's Principles provide companies a set of goals they can aspire to and measure their progress against, while offering investors a set of tools they can use to assess corporate performance on gender equality issues. The Principles provide a concrete set of indicators for tracking the progress of gender justice in the corporate community.


Corporations will take concrete steps to attain gender equality by adopting and implementing employment policies and practices that eliminate gender discrimination in areas such as recruitment, hiring, pay, and promotion.

Key elements of this principle include:

  1. Pay the legal wage to all women.
  2. Ensure fair and comparable wages, hours, and benefits, including retirement benefits, for all employees for comparable work.
  3. Undertake concrete, verifiable actions to recruit and retain women and candidates from traditionally underrepresented groups.
  4. Eliminate all forms of discrimination based on attributes such as gender, race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, gender identity, or cultural stereotypes in all work-related privileges or activities, including wages, hours, benefits, job access and qualifications, and working conditions.
  5. Prohibit discrimination based on marital, parental or reproductive status in making decisions regarding employment or promotion, including ensuring employment security that allows for interruptions in work for maternity, parental leave, and family-related responsibilities.
  6. Implement equitable policies for non-salaried employees regarding contract work, temporary work, and layoffs that do not disproportionately affect women.
  7. Strive to pay a living wage to all women.


Corporations will take concrete steps to attain gender equality by adopting, implementing, and promoting policies and practices that enable work-life balance and support educational, career, and vocational development.

Key elements of this principle include:

  1. Undertake concrete, verifiable actions to make professional and private life more balanced, by implementing and promoting flexible work options, family leave, dependent care, wellness programs, and workforce exit and reentry opportunities.
  2. Support access to childcare either by providing childcare services or by providing information and resources regarding childcare services.
  3. Provide gender equitable opportunities for and access to literacy training, education, and certified vocational and information technology training.
  4. Provide professional development opportunities that include formal or informal networking, client development activities, and mentoring programs that include women at all levels, including those women working in non-traditional fields.


Corporations will take concrete steps to attain gender equality by adopting and implementing policies to secure the health, safety, and well-being of women workers.

Key elements of this principle include:

Prohibit and prevent all forms of violence in the workplace, including verbal, physical, or sexual harassment.

  1. Ensure the safety of female employees in the workplace, in travel to and from the workplace, and on company-related business, and ensure the safety of vendors in the workplace.
  2. Provide and promote policies and programs addressing domestic violence.
  3. Eliminate and disclose unsafe working conditions and provide protection from exposure to hazardous or toxic chemicals in the workplace, particularly when those substances have known or suspected adverse effects on the health of women, including reproductive health.
  4. Allow time-off from work for employees seeking medical care or treatment, for themselves or their dependents, including family planning, counseling, and reproductive health care, and support return to positions of equal pay and status.
  5. Prohibit discrimination in hiring and employment based on health status, such as individuals with HIV/AIDS positive status or persons with disabilities.
  6. Strive to provide gender equitable health services and insurance.


Corporations will take concrete steps to attain gender equality by adopting and implementing policies to ensure equitable participation in management and governance.

Key elements of this principle include:

  1. Establish policies and undertake proactive efforts to recruit and appoint women to managerial positions and to the corporate board of directors.
  2. Establish policies and undertake proactive efforts to assure participation by women in decision-making and governance at all levels and in all areas of the business, including budgetary decision-making.
  3. Include gender equality as a factor in performance measures, strategic planning goals and objectives, and budgetary decisions.


Corporations will take concrete steps to attain gender equality by adopting and implementing non-discriminatory business, supply chain, contracting, and marketing policies and practices.

Key elements of this principle include:

  1. Maintain ethical marketing standards by respecting the dignity of women in all sales, promotional and advertising materials, and excluding any form of gender or sexual exploitation in marketing and advertising campaigns.
  2. Encourage and support women's entrepreneurship, and seek to enter into contractual and other business relationships with women-owned businesses and vendors, including micro-enterprises, and work with them to arrange fair credit and lending terms.
  3. Clearly forbid business-related activities that condone, support, or otherwise participate in trafficking, including for labor or sexual exploitation.
  4. Ensure that these Principles are observed not only with respect to employees, but also in relation to business partners such as independent contractors, sub-contractors, home-based workers, vendors, and suppliers.
  5. Take these Principles into consideration in product and service development and major business decisions, such as mergers, acquisitions, joint venture partnerships, and financing.


Corporations will take concrete steps to attain gender equality by adopting and implementing policies to promote equitable participation in civic life and eliminate all forms of discrimination and exploitation.

Key elements of this principle include:

  1. Encourage philanthropic foundations associated with the entity to adhere to these Principles through their donations, grant-making, programmatic initiatives, and investments.
  2. Encourage women and girls to enter non-traditional fields by providing accessible career information and training programs designed specifically for them.
  3. Respect female employees’ rights to participate in legal, civic, and political affairs —including time off to vote—without interference or fear of repercussion or retaliation in the workplace.
  4. Respect employees' voluntary freedom of association, including the voluntary freedom of association of female employees.
  5. Work with governments and communities where the company does business to eliminate gender-based discrimination and improve educational and other opportunities for women and girls in those communities, including support for women's non-governmental organizations and other community groups working for the advancement of women.
  6. Exercise proactive leadership in its sphere of influence to protect women from sexual harassment, violence, mutilation, intimidation, retaliation, or other denial of their basic human rights by host governments or non-governmental actors and refuse to tolerate situations where cultural differences or customs are used to deny the basic human rights of women and girls.


Corporations will take concrete steps to attain gender equality in operations and in business and stakeholder relationships by adopting and implementing policies that are publicly disclosed, monitored, and enforced.

Key elements of this principle include:

  1. Publicize commitment to these Principles through a CEO statement or comparably prominent means, and prominently display them in the workplace and/or make them available to all employees in a readily accessible and understandable form.
  2. Develop and implement company policies, procedures, training, and internal reporting processes to ensure observance and implementation of these Principles throughout the organization.
  3. Establish benchmarks to measure and monitor progress toward gender equality and report results publicly.
  4. Conduct periodic self-evaluations through data collection and analysis, audits, public disclosure, and reporting on status and progress made in the implementation of these Principles.
  5. Establish a clear, unbiased, non-retaliatory grievance policy allowing employees to make comments, recommendations, reports, or complaints concerning their treatment in the workplace.
  6. Engage in constructive dialogue with stakeholder groups, including employees, non-governmental or non-profit organizations, business associations, investors, customers, and the media on progress in implementing the Principles.
  7. Be transparent in the implementation of these Principles, and promote their endorsement and implementation by affiliates, vendors, suppliers, customers and others with whom it does business.
  8. Strive to ensure that government relations and corporate political spending policies and practices incorporate these Principles.

Calvert wishes to thank the many women leaders, corporate representatives, representatives of labor, human rights, women’s advocacy and other non-governmental organizations, and others who were kind enough to provide valuable counsel and advice during the drafting of these Principles.    

Calvert Asset Management Company, Inc. 4550 Montgomery Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland 20814.

© 2004-2010, Calvert Group, Ltd. This document may not be reproduced or disseminated without the express written consent of Calvert Group, Ltd.

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