The Business Case for Gender Equality

Women's Empowerment Principles: Inclusion is a Strategy for Change
Mar 28, 2013 10:30 AM ET

International Women's Day on March 8 is designated a celebratory day of reflection on some of the year's greatest advancements and achievements for women. Since the launch of UN Women and the UN Global Compact Women's Empowerment Principles (WEPs) in 2010, the annual WEPs event in New York serves as a forum to look at empowerment in the workplace and share best practices. The theme this year was Inclusion: Strategy for Change; it explored some of the innovative approaches that the private sector is taking to fight gender discrimination in the workplace.

At the WEPs event, SAI Project Manager Caroline Lewis spoke on the panel - Promise and Challenge: Value Chain, Diversity, Inclusion and Safety. She discussed the challenges faced by millions of women workers in company supply chains and SAI's efforts to help address these issues. She described SAI's gender discrimination training undertaken as part of the RAGS Project in India and the Gender Equity Seal (GES) project for UN Women Egypt. Ms. Lewis disseminated the GES certification standard system that SAI helped develop for GES to help companies measure the degree of gender equity in their supply chains. 

The event included formal addresses by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet, who highlighted the urgency to achieve gender balance at all levels. There were also moving testimonies from participants, including Naila Chowdhury, CEO of the Teleconsult Group, who has helped to train and find jobs for more than 1,000 women victims of acid attacks, as well as Turkey's leading technology and communications company Turkcell, which is working on a new mobile technology to combat domestic violence by providing "women panic buttons" which transfer calls directly to the 155 police emergency line. 

About the Women's Empowerment Principles
The Women's Empowerment Principles - Equality Means Business is a joint initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact. The Principles outline seven steps for business on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. Over 500 companies have signed up to the Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs) since their launch in 2010. They emphasize the business case to promote gender equality and encourage companies at this annual gathering, to share best practices. For more information about the event, view the WEP's press release.

View the GES at The GES is also listed on the WEP's website as a key resource - If you have any questions on the GES, please contact Caroline Lewis

Joleen Ong
Social Accountability International