The Millennium Declaration set a high bar when it called for all countries to be involved in creating “…a more peaceful, prosperous, and just world,” and explicitly stated, “we have a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at global levels.” (United Nations. 2000. Millennium Declaration. http://www.un.org/millennium/declaration/ares552e.htm)
A backdrop of economic volatility, austerity policies, climate upheaval, conflict, corruption and poverty shades the world’s efforts to move to the next phase of the development agenda, gathering lessons and reformulating approaches. However, beacons exist to light the way forward. Equality Means Business is one such light. Research and practice underscore that gender equality is fundamental to realizing the development agenda and that advancing and empowering women in the workplace, marketplace and community is essential for all sectors.
Collaboration is another lighthouse, as moving the gender agenda requires all hands on deck: Government, international organizations, civil society and the private sector. Drawing from the Women’s Empowerment Principles--a partnership initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact--that provide a road map for the private sector to realize gender equality and advance women in the workplace, marketplace and community, discussion will spotlight the role of business as we re-vision the post 2015 Development Agenda.
Participants, including representatives from the private sector, will examine how business can contribute to gender equality, particularly addressing barriers to jobs and decent employment, while highlighting a range of opportunities, stakeholder roles and responsibilities, lessons learned and how to get involved.
Ms. Elizabeth Broderick, Sex Discrimination Commissioner, Australian Human Rights Commission
Ms. Lakshmi Puri, Assistant Secretary-General, United Nations; and Deputy Executive Director, UN Women
Ms. Saadia Zahidi, Senior Director, Head of Gender Parity and Human Capital, World Economic Forum
Ms. Naila Chowdhury, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, TeleConsult Group
Ms. Freda Miriklis, President, Business and Professional Women International
Ms. Erica Christensen, VP, Corporate Social Responsibility, CA Technologies
Mr. Arif Zaman, Advisor, Commonwealth Business Council on Corporate Governance, South Asia and the Commonwealth Businesswomen Network
Ms. Rachael Akohonae, Managing Director, CIB Head of Diversity and Employee Relations, US, BNP Paribas