(New York, 22 September 2014) — International Finance Corporation, a member of the World Bank Group – working with key partners, including the UN Global Compact, International Labour Organization, and the EDGE Certified Foundation – launched a private sector partnership that will improve employment opportunities for more than 300,000 women over the next two years. The initiative was announced by World Bank Group President Jim Yong Kim at the 2014 Annual Meeting of the Clinton Global Initiative in New York City.
The She Works partnership brings together 10 leading companies that have pledged to implement measures proven to enhance women’s employment opportunities—such as mentorship programs, flexible working arrangements, and leadership training to increase diversity in management (view participating companies).
“Investing in women’s employment is not only the right thing to do—it’s also essential for business,” said Kim. “Companies that learn to effectively develop and retain women employees will gain a huge competitive advantage.”
Many forward-looking companies have begun to recognize that advancing women’s employment is not only the right thing to do, but also good for their bottom lines. Since 2010, nearly 800 business leaders from around the world have signed a CEO Statement of Support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a joint initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact. The Principles elaborate the gender dimension of corporate sustainability, as defined by the Global Compact, and provide a roadmap for business on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace, and community
Working with key partners, IFC will identify best practices and develop practical approaches that companies can implement to improve gender equality in the workplace. Better jobs for women leads to better development outcomes, because women spend more on children’s health, education, and nutrition.
Despite evidence that women’s employment is vital to driving economic growth and development, women face persistent barriers in labor markets and are more concentrated in the informal economy—rather than in salaried or wage work.
The private sector, which accounts for nine out of 10 jobs in developing countries, plays a critical role in creating better employment opportunities for women. She Works is part of IFC’s broader effort to help companies address gender gaps in employment, and thereby drive gains in productivity, competitiveness, and innovation.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development institution focused exclusively on the private sector. Working with private enterprises in about 100 countries, we use our capital, expertise, and influence to help eliminate extreme poverty and boost shared prosperity. In FY14, we provided more than $22 billion in financing to improve lives in developing countries and tackle the most urgent challenges of development. For more information, visit www.ifc.org.
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UN Global Compact:
Manager, Social Sustainability & Women's Empowerment
United Nations Global Compact