Year 2015, a number of global milestones – the 20th anniversary of the Beijing Platform for Action (PfA) and the launch of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development – provide a unique opportunity to ensure that the business community is a key partner in achieving gender equality. Held as part of the official CSW59/Beijing+20 programme, the 2015 Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) Annual Event brought together leaders from business, Government, the UN and civil society to reflect on the implications of the PfA and the SDGs, and project an action agenda driven by WEPs champions. Held on 10-11 March 2015 in New York, the event also focused on concrete steps and actions that business can take to advance gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and community.
The UN Global Compact and UN Women were pleased to announce Hillary Rodham Clinton, former Secretary of State of the United States, as the featured keynote speaker at the 2015 WEPs Event on 10 March. After nearly four decades of public service as First Lady, Senator, and U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton now helps lead the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation. Throughout her career, she has championed rights and opportunities for women and girls. She led the U.S. delegation to the Fourth UN World Conference on Women in 1995 in Beijing, where she delivered her historic speech and proclaimed “women’s rights are human rights”. In her keynote address, Secretary Clinton reflected on progress made in implementing the agenda set in Beijing two decades ago. She also presented key findings and recommendations from "No Ceilings: The Full Participation Report" and outlined an agenda to accelerate the full participation of women and girls around the world.
Gender Equality and the Global Jobs Challenge
Held over two days, the 6th Annual Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) event, Gender Equality and the Global Jobs Challenge, spotlighted business strategies, experience and challenges on increasing and enhancing job opportunities for women and expanding access to decent jobs. The main event on 6 March, held at the United Nations Headquarters, featured a Morning Plenary, WEPs Leadership Awards, WEPs Luncheon and Afternoon Roundtable Sessions. The 5 March programme, held at 3 West Club, featured a series of WEPs conversations, followed by a government hosted opening reception. Hosted by the WEPs, a partnership initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact, the event brought together the experience of leading stakeholders from business, government and civil society to strengthen local and global solutions. With more than 680 CEO Signatories worldwide, the WEPs provide a roadmap for companies to advance and empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community.
For a complete event roundup, visit the Guardian Women in Leadership's live blog with videos, interviews and perspectives, and our own Storify featuring coverage and conversations on #EqualityMeansJobs. We also invite you to continue the #WEPs conversation beyond the event on Twitter (@WEPrinciples) and Facebook.
Check out the Business in Society programme featuring the WEPs, Anne-Marie Slaughter and other champions of women's empowerment.
The event-held in observance of International Women's Day-focused on how inclusive business strategies and practices drive change towards realizing the Women's Empowerment Principles and featured innovative approaches the private sector is taking to overcome challenges to achieve gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and community. Participants included business leaders and representatives from a wide range of sectors and geographical regions and other key stakeholders from civil society, government and academia.
Companies that have signed the CEO Statement of Support for the Women’s Empowerment Principles, as well as other businesses and stakeholders, convened to discuss how corporate behaviour and practices are being transformed to align with the WEPs. As in previous years, participants shared their experiences in implementing the WEPs, including best practices, challenges and lessons-learned. The meeting also provided an opportunity for discussion on key topics and themes, including how gender equality fits into the agendas of corporate sustainability and sustainable development.
One year after the launch of the Women's Empowerment Principles, representatives from the private sector, Government, civil society and the UN will met at UN Headquarters to take stock of how the Principles have been operationalized to advance company efforts to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community and identify areas for improvement.
The event marked the launch of the Women's Empowerment Principles, explored their practical relevance for business, and investigated how best to build support for the spirit of the WEPs.
Meeting Report | Agenda | List of Event Participants | Press Release | Press Statement by Ms. Ines Alberdi, Executive Director, UNIFEM | Press Statement by Mr. Georg Kell, Executive Director, UN Global Compact | Press Statement by Ms. Susie C.Pontarolli, Aide - Environment and Corporate Citizenship Division, COPEL
The event brought together business, civil society, academia, labour, governments and the UN to identify what business can and is doing to advance women around the world and how these efforts relate to corporate citizenship. Ultimately, Advancing Women in the Global Marketplace aimed to develop a more coherent and multi-faceted vision of the many ways in which business can help empower women around the world.
The event featured a series of interactive sessions on creating the optimum workplace, women and entrepreneurship, public-private partnerships, and other initiatives. As a central element of the day's agenda, participants discussed whether a set of Women's Principles, a new voluntary code of conduct for business designed to promote gender equality, might be useful to stimulate further progress.