Wednesday 30th March 2016
The UN Global Compact and UN Women held the Annual Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) event on March 15 and 16 in New York. The event brought together the private sector, entrepreneurs, multilaterals, governments, NGOs and other stakeholders to discuss gender equality and what they can do to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community.
The event’s keynote speakers were Mr. Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, President of Costa Rica, and Mr. Luis Alberto Moreno, President of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB). President Solís Rivera highlighted the progress in gender equality in his country, particularly in the areas of education and labor participation, and how these advancements have reduced overall poverty. He also recognized there is still much work that needs to be done and advocated for the need to move from sensitivity to action. Moreno discussed the fact that male chauvinism has been part of the DNA in many societies in Latin America and the Caribbean for years, and he personally feels strongly that this needs to change. He noted that the IDB is a reflection of the region it serves, and only by making equality an integral part of IDB programs can they support societies in helping women reach their full potential. The IDB also announced a partnership with the UN Global Compact and UN Women to develop a diagnostic tool to allow companies to assess their performance against the WEPs. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon closed the first day of the event, focusing on the importance of gender equality to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.
The second day of the event highlighted success stories and action plans, focusing on health, childcare, value chains, and setting targets and measuring change. The role of men and what they can do to support gender equality was also emphasized. Two prominent women business leaders, Archana Bhatnagar and Erika Karp, shared their personal stories and experiences.
Almost 1,200 companies have signed on to the WEPs to date, including 8 GBA members (Access Bank, BFL, Banco Pichincha, BLC Bank, Bank of Palestine, RBS, Garanti Bank and Westpac), committing to implement the 7 principles within their organizations and contributing to efforts to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. Click here for more information on the WEPs and to sign up.