Deconstructing the business and human rights phenomenon through the gender lens : a case study of gender equality in the workplace in Slovenia

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Primorac, Kaja
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Since inclusivity has proven to have a positive effect on economy, the principles of non-discrimination and equality play a major role in the newly emerging field of business and human rights. Considering gender as a personal circumstance shared by everyone, it is crucial to make it a part of the organisational structure, culture and working processes of individual business units in order to enhance the inclusivity-based outcomes on a greater scale. Nevertheless, although regulation in this field is already in place at the international level (though, for the time being still vague), and Slovenia has already transposed it into its national legislation (and is comparatively one of the most advanced countries when it comes to gender equality), a certain discrepancy between legal norms and the actual practice in Slovenia persists. The three research questions of this thesis examine to which extent is Slovenian national legislation aligned with the emerging business and human rights standards, and their aim to promote gender equality, how employees’ gender effects them in the Slovenian companies, and whether there is a domain of gender equality in which men feel less privileged than women. Using the gender audit method, an exhaustive empirical research encompassed both a survey with employees and interviews with the managements at four Slovenian companies. The results showed that there was no aspect of gender (in)equality where men would feel less privileged, although it is clear from statistics from practice that traditional behaviour related to work-life balance reflects the incapability of men to shift it in favour of their families. Gender stereotypes seem to be prevalent and adequately recognised on both sides. While company ownership (public or private) does not affect the results in the gender audit, the size of the company does. The scientific contribution created with this thesis encompasses the extensive linking of two otherwise separated fields – business and human rights and gender equality – through examination of relevant international documents. Key words: business and human rights, non-discrimination, gender equality, employment and workplace, inclusivity, Slovenia
Second semester University: University of Zagreb
business, human rights, discrimination in employment, women, Slovenia, equality