Bringing gender equality home and taking it to work: UN Women partners with IKEA in China

Date: Tuesday, December 22, 2020

Beijing, China -- IKEA China and UN Women China have launched a partnership to address two interlinked issues that hinder women’s economic empowerment: unpaid care and domestic work, and violence against women.

Data shows that globally, women perform 76.2 per cent of unpaid care and domestic work, which is 3.2 times as much as men, while in China women spend around 2.5 times as much time as men on unpaid care and domestic work. Violence against women presents another barrier to women’s economic empowerment: more than one in three women globally have experienced violence in their lifetime. The COVID-19 pandemic has heightened these inequalities.

A Place Called Home – WeCare will raise public awareness and mobilize private sector companies to introduce policies and measures targeting the two issues, playing their part in transmitting attitudes and social norms in the course of people’s day-to-day lives. “Women have been shouldering the bulk of care work, and this work is often unaccounted for and unrecognized. COVID-19 provides us with an opportunity for radical, positive action to redress long-standing inequalities in multiple areas of women’s lives,” says Smriti Aryal, Head of the UN Women China office. “Now more than ever is a time to address this prominent yet long-ignored issue with the strength of solidarity with the government, the private sector and society as a whole. UN Women China is glad to join hands with IKEA China on this. This is an opportunity to build back better, for a stronger, resilient and equal society.”

As an supporter of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals and a signatory to the UN’s Women’s Empowerment Principles, IKEA China is committed to creating a more inclusive world, and has set gender equality as one of six priorities in its sustainability plan. Meanwhile the partnership comes at a significant time. In a post-COVID-19 era, the strengthening of women’s empowerment and gender-sensitive business culture by the private sector in line with the Women’s Empowerment Principles is of great significance.

2020 marks the 25th anniversary of the adoption of the Beijing Platform for Action, a visionary agenda for the empowerment of women and girls, while the 16 Days of Activism against Gender-based Violence help us remember that the benefits of gender equality are not just for women and girls, but for everyone whose lives will be changed by a fairer world that leaves no one behind. Against this backdrop, the partnership between UN Women and IKEA is a solid step to push the agenda forward.

“We have strong commitment to our vision to create better everyday life for the many”, says Anna Pawlak-Kuliga, CEO and President of IKEA China, and its Chief Sustainability Officer. “This is why we are transforming our business to being people and planet positive by 2030. We are committed to creating a positive social impact for everyone across the value chain, and we want to play an important role in creating a fairer and more equal society in the communities where we are present. I am happy and proud for our partnership with UN Women working for more equal and safe homes and workplaces in China.”