Gender Equality

Sexual or personal favours are exchanged for hiring or promotion


Businesses should have strong sexual harassment and equal opportunity policies aimed at preventing the exchange of sexual or personal favours for employment benefits such as hiring or promotional opportunities. These policies need clear complaint or whistle-blowing avenues that are transparent and well-communicated throughout all levels of the business, with clear consequences if complaints are proven. Disciplinary sanctions should include the possibility of instant dismissal, especially in the case of sexual exploitation.


The exchange of sexual favours for hiring benefits is a specific type of sexual harassment, commonly known as “quid pro quo” or “sextortion” that may well constitute violence against women. This behaviour should trigger a business’s sexual harassment policy which should be strongly enforced and provide its own disciplinary measures. Depending on the relevant legal framework, employers may be legally responsible for sexual harassment occurring in the workplace.

Relevant Human Rights Instruments

Convention concerning Discrimination in Respect of Employment and Occupation, 1958 (No. 111)
Declaration on the Elimination of Violence against Women, 1993
Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women, 1979



SDG 5.2

Employers that prevent the use of sexual or personal favours for professional advancement help to achieve SDG 5.2: Eliminate all forms of violence against all women and girls in the public and private spheres, including trafficking and sexual and other types of exploitation.

SDG 5.5
Employers that prevent nepotistic behaviour help to achieve SDG 5.5: Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic and public life.