(New York, 18 September 2013) – The total number of CEOs endorsing the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) – offering guidance to business on how to empower women and advance equality in the workplace, marketplace and community – moved past 600 in September 2013, the UN Global Compact reports.
Supporters of the Principles, a joint initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact, come from over 40 countries and their companies represent industries as diverse as financial services, construction, telecommunications and pharmaceuticals.
The milestone was reached just before the opening of the UN Global Compact’s triennial Leaders Summit on 19 September in New York. At a special event during the Summit titled Women's Empowerment and the Post-2015 Development Agenda: Achieving Equality in the Workplace, Marketplace and Community, the UN Global Compact, UN Women, the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the International Trade Centre (ITC) will convene business leaders and other stakeholders to discuss the importance of gender equality to the sustainable development agenda and the critical role business can play, including by supporting and implementing the Principles. The Women’s Empowerment Principles video will be premiered at the event, featuring a range of the Principle’s supporters.
According to organizers, companies are recognizing that investing in women is the right thing, and the smart thing, to do. Research shows that organizations with the most gender diversity in their board of directors financially outperformed companies with the least. Studies also indicate that an employment rate for women equivalent to that of men would boost economic growth by five percent in the US, and by more in developing countries.
Bolstering this Leaders Summit special event, a recent UN Global Compact report to the UN Secretary-General on the post-2015 development agenda points out that women’s empowerment produces the multiple dividend of benefiting women and children, as well as development goals in areas such as health, education and food security.
While significant progress has been made, the report calls for increased action by all stakeholders, including business, and sets targets for the year 2030, such as increasing the proportion of leadership positions held by women in public and private sectors to 40 percent or better, achieving universally recognized and enforced equal pay for equal work, ensuring full and equal access to ownership, property rights and land titles, and reducing violent acts committed against women and girls.
Global Compact Local Networks have played a critical role in driving uptake of the Principles. Working with UN Women local offices, civil society organizations, governments and others, recent efforts include launching the WEPs in Pakistan, helping to develop and distribute a WEPs implementation survey in Japan, and convening business representatives from Turkey, Iraq and the UAE to share best practices and lessons learned.
Heads of corporations and other organizations began demonstrating their commitment to gender equality and women’s empowerment by signing a CEO Statement of Support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles at the previous Leaders Summit in 2010. With 600 CEO endorsers, the WEPs now represents the largest global platform for business on the issue.
Watch the Women's Empowerment Principles video
About the Women’s Empowerment Principles
The Women's Empowerment Principles – Equality Means Business is a joint initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact. The Principles outline seven steps for business on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. The Principles highlight that empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors and throughout all levels of economic activity is essential to build strong economies; establish more stable and just societies; achieve internationally agreed goals for development, sustainability, and human rights; improve quality of life for women, men, families and communities; and propel business' operations and goals. Learn more at www.weprinciples.org