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close this bookPoverty Elimination and the Empowerment of Women (DFID, 2000, 51 p.)
close this folder4. Meeting the challenge
close this folderKey actors
View the documentGovernments
View the documentCivil society
View the documentPrivate sector
View the documentDonors

Private sector

4.7 The private sector - at all levels, and in all sectors - is the engine of economic growth and development, and is also a standard setter in relation to the rights of both workers and consumers. Businesses, whatever their size, must act responsibly and recognise their social obligations, as well as their obligations to shareholders. Governments and international bodies can regulate the private sector but, in the end, a commitment to social responsibility and the maintenance of ethical standards must come from within. Women's advancement will continue to be held back as long as companies discriminate in employment practices and terms and conditions of work, or reinforce and perpetuate gender stereotypes through marketing strategies and the media. Many businesses adhere to strict standards of social and ethical responsibility, but many others are still lagging behind.