(New York, 5 March 2009) – Today, the United Nations Global Compact and the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) are convening Advancing Women in the Global Marketplace , a consultation to explore the role of business in improving the status of women around the world. The day-long event, taking place just prior to International Women’s Day, is bringing together representatives of business, civil society, academia, labour, governments and the UN to develop a more coherent vision of the many ways in which business can help to empower women and advance gender equality. The meeting is addressing issues such as creating the optimal workplace, women and entrepreneurship, and public-private partnerships to advance women.
As a central part of the day’s discussions participants are exploring how a set of Women's Principles, developed in 2004 by the investment firm Calvert in cooperation with UNIFEM, might be useful to stimulate further progress in the advancement of women. The event is also discussing the potential global application of the Women’s Principles, and how they might be further enhanced to increase their international impact and reach.
“Our hope is that Advancing Women in the Global Marketplace will make a tangible contribution to the empowerment of women everywhere”, said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact. ”This event is a unique opportunity to foster a broader understanding that the promotion of gender equality is an essential factor in ensuring the long-term sustainability of business.”
“Reducing poverty or achieving gender equality is not just the business of government, the UN, the international financial institutions of nongovernmental organizations”, added Inés Alberdi, Executive Director, UNIFEM. “There is a missing and essential partner – the private sector.”
UNIFEM is the women’s fund at the United Nations. It provides financial and technical assistance to innovative programmes and strategies to foster women’s empowerment and gender equality. Placing the advancement of women’s human rights at the centre of all of its efforts, UNIFEM focuses its activities on reducing feminized poverty; ending violence against women; reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS among women and girls; and achieving gender equality in democratic governance in times of peace as well as war. For more information, visit www.unifem.org.