Impact of COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused untold disruptions to our operations and working environments, and to the very personal experiences of our employees.

Gender-based violence

We are particularly aware of the increased risk of gender-based violence among women who are forced to be at home with their abusers. This is especially dangerous given how disempowered abusers are likely feeling as a result of the social and economic fallout of the pandemic. We have therefore increased our anti-gender-based violence education and awareness campaigns, provided anonymous and non-company-related support to communities, ensured that help is available when staff reach out, and established stronger links with our community members.

We are also rolling out gender desks regionally through our sustainability teams. This, together with our whistle-blowing line, serves as an anonymous mechanism for staff to raise any gender-related issues, from unfair labour practices to sexual harassment and incidents of gender-based violence.

Working from home

COVID-19 has also threatened to undo decades of progress in the professional empowerment of women. As many of our female team members relocate their offices to their homes, we realise that they are also likely having to balance their work commitments with the domestic demands of running a home and having a family. Research during COVID-19 has suggested that, although many men are working from home too, women are still shouldering the lion’s share of home-based responsibilities.

To support our female employees, we have devised a global Work from Home Framework and Policy and are creating specific support structures for women who are working from home. These structures will be rolled out through our employee assistance programmes.

For information on our COVID-19 related initiatives, see www.agacovid19.com.