(New Delhi, India 8 September 2015) - Over 150 representatives from business, government, UN, civil society, and academia gathered today for India’s premier business event on gender equality - "Equality Means Business: Women’s Empowerment Principles in Practice." Organized by the UN Global Compact and Global Compact Network India, and driven by four strong supporters of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (BNP Paribas, Deloitte, HCL Technologies and Sodexo), the event highlighted the essential role that businesses can and must play to realize gender equality and achieve sustainable development. Guided by the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), participants reflected on the persistent barriers to advancing gender equality, showcased promising solutions and approaches and highlighted how companies throughout India are scaling up diversity, inclusion and sustainability strategies to mitigate risks and maximise positive impact. The event also showcased how WEPs signatories can come together to inspire further gender equality action in India.
Speaking on the side-lines of the event, Dinesh K. Sarraf, President, Global Compact Network India and Chairman & Managing Director Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, said that “more and more businesses are recognizing that gender equality is not just the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do. In order for businesses to differentiate from the rest of their peers, equal policies for men and women are essential. The WEPs provide a useful framework for companies to take a comprehensive approach to achieving gender equality in their workplaces, marketplaces and communities.”
Speaking at the event, Pooran Chandra Pandey, Executive Director of the Global Compact Network India said that “with the UN set to roll out a new set of goals in September 2015, signalling a new chapter for the “global partnership” for ensuring sustainable development, gender equality is being seen as a central theme for achieving these new goals and targets.”
Elaborating on the theme and initiative Lauren Gula, Senior Manager of Sustainability and Women’s Empowerment at UN Global Compact, who gave the opening remarks, stated that “The WEPs provide a ready-made platform to engage business to do its part to advance Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which is focused on the empowerment of women and girls, as well as a range of gender related targets across the 17 SDGs. In addition to gender equality being a sustainable development goal in its own rights, women’s empowerment is a critical enabler to achieving a wide range of development objectives and essential to propelling businesses’ operations and goals.“
Key speakers attending the event included: Ashok Kumar Pavadia, Adviser in the Inter State Council Secretariat and Additional Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, Dr. Nagesh Kumar, Head, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)'s South and South-West Asia Office, Rashmi Singh, Union Territory Civil Services and Former Executive Director, National Mission for Empowerment of Women (NMEW ), Ministry of Women & Child Development, Government of India, Joris Dierckx , CEO and Country Head, BNP Paribas India, Rishi Gour, Country President, Sodexo India, Prithvi Shergill, Chief Human Resources Officer, HCL Technologies.
About United Nations Global Compact
The United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to voluntarily align their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to take action in support of UN goals and issues. The UN Global Compact is a leadership platform for the development, implementation and disclosure of responsible corporate policies and practices. Launched in 2000, it is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world, with over 8,000 companies and 4,000 non-business signatories based in 160 countries. Learn more at www.unglobalcompact.org
About Women’s Empowerment Principles
The Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a joint initiative of UN Global Compact and UN Women, offer guidance to business on how to empower women in the workplace marketplace and community. Launched in 2010, the Principles are based on real-life business practices and emphasize the business case for corporate action to promote gender equality and elaborate the gender-dimension of corporate sustainability and business' role in sustainable development. The WEPs provide a ready-made platform to engage the private sector to contribute to and advance the Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 5, as well as a range of gender equality related targets across the SDGs. To date more than 1,030, business leaders from around the world, including 38 CEOs from India, have publicly supported the WEPs through signing the CEO Statement of Support for the WEPs. In addition the seven Principles have recognized by UN Member States and civil society organizations around the world as an important framework for their engagement with business. Learn more at www.weprinciples.org
About Global Compact Network India
Global Compact Network India (GCNI), the Indian arm of UN Global Compact and a global platform for businesses, civil organizations and public sectors, aids in aligning stakeholders’ practices towards the Ten Universally accepted principles of UN Global Compact in the areas of Human Rights, Labour, Environment and Anti – Corruption. India launched Global Compact in the year 2000, with an aim to conjoin private sector activities with the civil society initiatives. Global Compact Network India, one of the oldest networks amongst its 103 counterparts in the world, became a legal entity in 2003. India Network continues to be number one in Asia Oceania region besides now being among top 10 Networks of UN Global Compact in the world. Learn more at www.globalcompact.in
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