Flexible working

A way of working that suits an employee’s needs. Different modes of flexible working exist, including: job-sharing, working from home and telecommuting, part-time working, compressed hours, flexitime, annualised hours, staggered hours and phased retirement. In some countries there is a legal right to request flexible working arrangements and organisations are required to provide a “sound” reason for any denial of flexible working requests.

Definition from: UK Government. Flexible Working. Available from: [Accessed: 20 February 2019]. 


Gender refers to the roles, behaviours, activities, and attributes that a given society at a given time considers appropriate for men and women and people with non-binary gender identities. In addition to the social attributes and opportunities associated with being male and female and the relationships between women and men and girls and boys, gender also refers to the relations between women and those between men. These attributes, opportunities and relationships are socially constructed and are learned through socialisation processes. They are context/time-specific and changeable. Gender determines what is expected, allowed and valued in a woman or a man in a given context. In most societies there are differences and inequalities between women and men in responsibilities assigned, activities undertaken, access to and control over power and resources, as well as decision-making opportunities. Gender is part of the broader context of sociocultural power dynamics, as are other important criteria for sociocultural analysis including class, disability status, race, poverty level, ethnic group, sexual orientation, age, etc.

Adapted from: UN Women. Gender Equality Glossary. Available from: https://trainingcentre.unwomen. org/mod/glossary/view.php?id=36&mode=letter&hook=G&sortkey=&sortorder=asc [Accessed: 11 February 2019].

Gender blind

The failure to recognise that the roles and responsibilities of men/boys and women/girls are assigned to them in specific social, cultural, economic, and political contexts and backgrounds. Projects, programmes, policies and attitudes that are gender blind do not take into account these different roles and diverse needs. They maintain the status quo and will not help transform the unequal structure of gender relations.

Gender equality

Women, men and transgender people, across the life-course and in all their diversity, have the same conditions and opportunities to realise their full rights and potential to be healthy, contribute to health development and benefit from the results.

From World Health Organization (2015). Fact Sheet: Gender. Available from: factsheets/fs403/en/index.html [Accessed: 9 February 2019].

Gender equity in health

Fairness in addressing the different health needs of people according to their gender. Inequitable health outcomes based on gender are both avoidable and unacceptable. A concept of fairness recognises that there are differences between the sexes and that resources must be allocated differentially to address unfair disparities.

Gender pay gap

The gender pay gap is the difference in the average hourly wage of all women and men across a workforce, as monitored by Sustainable Development Goal indicator 8.5.1. If women hold more of the less well paid posts within an organisation than men, the gender pay gap is usually bigger.

The gender pay gap is not the same as unequal pay which is paying men and women differently for performing the same (or similar) work. Unequal pay is prohibited in some 64 countries, seven of which include those countries where nearly 90% of the GH5050 2019 sample of organisations is headquartered.


Criteria for assessing the gender-responsiveness of policies and programmes:

  • gender unequal: reinforces or perpetuates existing gender inequalities
  • gender-blind: ignores gender norms, roles and relations
  • gender-sensitive: considers gender norms, roles and relations
  • gender-specific: targets a specific group to meet identified needs
  • gender-transformative: addresses the causes of gender-based inequities and includes ways to transform harmful gender norms, roles and relations, including addressing power in relationships.

From World Health Organization (2011). WHO Gender Responsive Assessment Scale. Available from: https:// [Accessed: 9 February 2019].

Maternity leave

Leave generally available to mothers, designed to protect the health of the new mother and child, taken before, during and immediately after childbirth.

Parental leave

Leave available equally to mothers and fathers, as: (i) a non-transferable individual right (i.e. both parents have an entitlement to an equal amount of leave); (ii) an individual right that can be transferred to the other parent; or (iii) a family right that parents can divide between themselves as they choose (shared parental leave). May be available to both partners in same-sex relationships in some countries.

Definition from: International Network on Leave Policies and Research. Defining policies. Available from: [Accessed: 20 February 2019].

Paternity leave

Leave generally available to fathers, usually taken shortly after the birth or adoption of the child.

Sexual harassment

Sexual harassment is any unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature that might reasonably be expected or be perceived to cause offense or humiliation, when such conduct interferes with work, is made a condition of employment or creates an intimidating, hostile or offensive work environment. Sexual harassment may occur in the workplace or in connection with work. While typically involving a pattern of conduct, sexual harassment may take the form of a single incident. In assessing the reasonableness of expectations or perceptions, the perspective of the person who is the target of the conduct shall be considered.

From UN System Chief Executives Board for Coordination (2018). UN System Model Policy on Sexual Harassment. Available from: Policy%20on%20Sexual%20Harassment_FINAL.pdf [Accessed: 9 February 2019].

Support for returning parents

Alongside employment entitlements of returning to a previous post (or equivalent) after a period of leave (maternity/paternity/parental), some organisations offer support to returning parents in the form of, for example, opportunities for flexible working (see definition), provision of private spaces/time for lactation, shipping breast-milk when travelling on business, on-site childcare and/or financial support for childcare options. Some organisations also offer specific programmes including career coaching, expert advice and dedicated personnel to support back-to-work transitions.


Transparency is about shedding light on rules, plans, processes and actions. It is knowing why, how, what, and how much. Transparency ensures that public officials, civil servants, managers, board members and businesspeople act visibly and understandably, and report on their activities. And it means that the general public can hold them to account. It is the surest way of guarding against corruption, and helps increase trust in the people and institutions on which our futures depend.

Adapted from: Transparency International. What is Corruption. Available from: https://www. [Accessed: 9 February 2019].