Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities

Reduce inequality within and among countries.

Discrimination has been ingrained into societies across centuries and continents and continues in many countries around the world. Technology, in the hands of organizations committed to eliminating inequality, can help make a difference. Open-data initiatives are driving governments around the world to provide the public with data that can help improve accountability and promote equality for all.

Searching for the Land of Equal Opportunity

“No Irish Need Apply”

Written in employment advertisements in the United States during the 1800s and even into the early 20th century, this phrase captured the anti-Catholic sentiment in the Protestant world.

Discrimination has been ingrained into societies across centuries and continents and continues in many countries around the world. Many struggle to find work because of the color of their skin, the place of their birth, or the religion they practice. Afro-Brazilians face discrimination despite the banning of slavery in 1888. High unemployment persists among the Romové minority in the Czech Republic. People of color in the Ukraine continue to be second-class citizens.

Officially frowned upon as a violation of rights in most countries, discrimination persists. In reality, it is one thing to outlaw discrimination but quite another to enforce the law. The Dalits, the lowest in India’s caste system, continue to be known as “untouchables,” facing discrimination in work, education, health, and housing. Though illegal, most authorities turn a blind eye to it. In other countries, discrimination can be found within the law – not so much in what is said but in what is not. For example, the Kenyan Employment Act 2007 disallows employment discrimination, but it openly persists in other areas such as housing.

Racial and ethnic inequality aren’t the only varieties. Gender bias is very real in advanced and emerging societies. Lack of data by gender and ethnicity makes it difficult to track on a global level. Data2X, an initiative led by the UN Foundation, is looking to address the specific problem for women. Data2X is advocating for the need to collect gender-relevant data in a nonbiased way and educating people about it.

The United States has long prided itself on being “a land of equal opportunity.” Critics have questioned such a claim in recent years. Joseph Stiglitz – an economist, Columbia University professor, and Nobel Memorial Prize winner – has written several publications on the inequality in the U.S. economy and income distribution. In his 2016 essay on economics, he warned of the price to be paid: “With nearly one in four American children growing up in poverty, many of them facing not just a lack of educational opportunity but also a lack of access to adequate nutrition and health, the country’s long-term prospects are being put into jeopardy.” Change is difficult, however, when the financial institutions and corporations run by the 1% at the top of the pyramid that control 40% of wealth place their own interests first.

Technology in the hands of organizations committed to eliminating inequality can help make a difference. And so can data. Open-data initiatives are pushing governments around the world to provide the public with data that can help improve accountability. This is the kind of accountability that is required if leaders are to take very real steps to eliminate inequality.

With our world increasingly centered on technology, access is foundational to achieving equality. The billions who still lack an on-ramp to the information superhighway may face one of the biggest inequalities of the 21st century.

SAP is doing its part

We are committed to helping eliminate discrimination and giving all people an equal chance in life:

  • In collaboration with SAP Ariba, IAG created and launched an internal diversity marketplace to enable its employees to channel their spend to make a positive impact on local communities. With IAG’s drive and focus, SAP Ariba expanded its supplier community connected to Ariba Network in Australia with suppliers from diverse backgrounds, like Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander and women-owned businesses, that will be available to all local and regional buyers using SAP Ariba Buying in Australia.
  • SAP Ariba solutions help Muru Office Supplies streamline its purpose-driven business so it can focus on creating a pathway for indigenous people. In this way, Muru secures a reliable income for its employees and gives back part of its profits to the indigenous community programs in the Torres Strait Islands of Australia.
  • At SAP, we are dedicated to eliminating bias in the workplace and drive a broad range of activities to create an inclusive environment for our own workforce. At the same time, we also focus on making our software work for more people and making our products more accessible for differently-abled people through accessibility features, defined accessibility requirements, and processes.
  • SAP is also expanding its Business Beyond Bias focus to help companies optimize existing features throughout the SAP SuccessFactors HCM Suite. This helps to eliminate inherent biases around gender, age and ethnicity and experienced by differently-abled and LGBT communities.
  • SAP accelerates digital inclusion to shape the modern economy: SAP’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy powers the global economy by building digital skills and accelerating systemic, sustainable change.
  • The Human Touch: Diakonie Michaelshoven helps 14,000 families, refugees, and seniors every year. SAP solutions deliver real-time actionable results to increase efficiency, reduce overhead, and speed financial processes. As a result, the organization can hire more caregivers, pay for more food, shelter, and services, and help train people to help those in need.
  • SAP is proud to be one of 50 companies to support the Hispanic Promise, a first-of-its-kind diversity and inclusion pledge for Hispanics.
  • As the first company in the business software industry, SAP pledges to commit up to 40% of the investable capital in the SAP.iO Fund and scale the SAP.iO Foundries program with a focus on inclusive entrepreneurship. By this means, over 200 startups led by women and underrepresented entrepreneurs can be funded and incubated.
  • SAP is one of the first supporters of the UN Corporate Standards of Conduct on Tackling Discrimination against LGBTI People. Its aim is to identify actions that companies can take to eliminate workplace discrimination. As part of this commitment, SAP recently updated their Gender Transition Guidelines, which have been used to support transgender employees around the world.
  • To counter unconscious bias in compensation, Pay Equity and the SAP SuccessFactors solution portfolio provide data that, when anonymized and analyzed with machine learning capabilities, can provide insight into the behavior of more than 150 million employees around the world. By this, we help ensure they manage, develop, reward, and compensate talent without bias.

In light of the ongoing #BlackLivesMatter movement, SAP has reaffirmed its commitment to diversity and inclusion and has increased its investment in social justice reform and Black-owned businesses and enterprises. Over the next three years, SAP is taking several concrete steps towards social justice. As an example, we are partnering with Global Citizen, the world’s largest movement of action takers and impact makers. SAP is also adding direct support for social justice reform through the Equal Justice Initiative. To execute on its strategy to further increase diversity in the workforce, SAP has set a new goal to double the representation of African-American talent in the U.S. in the next three years. Additionally, SAP acknowledges the pain and grief of its impacted employees. For this purpose, SAP’s Head of People Sustainability and Chief Diversity and Inclusion officer Judith Williams co-hosted a Town Hall meeting that offered impacted employees a safe space to express their emotions, grief, and experiences. SAP will continue taking action towards social justice, for example by bringing in experts for a Speaker Seminar Series or participating in the Virtual Equality Lounge.

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Goal 11: Sustainable Cities and Communities