In Celebration of International Women’s Day, the UN Global Compact Reaffirms Commitment to the Women’s Empowerment Principles and Unites Business Community with Month-Long Initiatives.

(New York, 8 March 2017)  Today, the United Nations Global Compact announced its plans for International Women’s Day and affirmed its commitment to uniting the business community to champion gender equality. The UN Global Compact will put its Women’s Empowerment Principles to work through a month-long series of initiatives to enable business leaders to consciously commit to decisions supporting gender equality, diversity and inclusion.

“We appear to be amidst a worldwide inflection point, and the answer is not entirely clear,” said UN Global Compact CEO and Executive Director Lise Kingo. “Despite global recognition that women’s empowerment is good for business, the economy and society, many women of the world today do not feel equally valued. Many workplaces are too dominated by unconscious bias against women, and the global business community has a responsibility to take this fundamental problem seriously.”

International Women’s Day (8 March) is a global day established by the United Nations to celebrate the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. The day also marks a call to action for accelerating gender parity. By convening capital markets and business leaders throughout the month, the UN Global Compact is striving to demonstrate that gender equality is a catalyst for business success, economic growth and sustainable development.

“Reading the signs and the signals, this is clearly the time for action,” Kingo continues. “We invite business leaders to join us by signing the Women’s Empowerment Principles and leveraging resources to break their gender bias. We can unlock growth by breaking the bias on gender, but only if our sustained actions create a snowball of change. We must move forward, not back.”

Following is an overview of key UN Global Compact events taking place this month:

  • 8 March: “Ring the Bell for Women’s Equality” on International Women’s Day
    • The UN Global Compact will ring the bell for women’s equality in 40+ markets worldwide, and release a report, How Stock Exchanges Can Advance Gender Equality, in partnership with the Sustainable Stock Exchanges to show how stock exchanges can advance gender equality.
    • Now in its third iteration, a global collaboration across 42 stock exchanges around the world will “Ring the Bell for Gender Equality” in line with International Women’s Day 2017. These events are organized as a partnership by the Sustainable Stock Exchanges Initiative, together with the UN Global Compact, UN Women, the IFC, Women in ETFs and the World Federation of Exchanges to raise awareness about the opportunities for the private sector to advance gender equality and sustainable development.
  • 14-15 March: The Women Empowerment Principles Forum Annual Event with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce (New York)
    • This annual event brings together inspirational business leaders, including innovative female entrepreneurs, with civil society, the UN and Government, to scale-up business action and unleash the full potential of women and girls.
    • Lise Kingo, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact will participate on a panel, Business Empowering Women and Girls, which will take place on March 14th from 2:15 – 3:20 p.m. The panel will focus on the business case for gender equality and why it is worthy of being a priority area of focus and investment for the private sector.
  • 15 March: Launch of the Women’s Empowerment Gender Gap Analysis Tool
    • The UN Global Compact, UN Women and the Inter-American Development Bank Group will convene diverse leaders from business, civil society, UN, government and academia at the breakfast launch of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) Gender Gap Analysis Tool, which helps the global business community identify their own gender bias and provides practical solutions to consciously champion gender equality.
    • The online platform will help companies to identify strengths, gaps and opportunities to improve gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, in the markets and communities they operate in. More than 170 companies worldwide participated in the design process. It is a joint project of the UN Global Compact, UN Women, the Multilateral Investment Fund of the IDB, and the Inter-American Investment Corporation. It is supported by the Governments of Japan and Germany, The Coca-Cola Company, BSR, Itaipu and KPMG.
  • 20 March: Launch of International Gender Champions –New York at the United Nations Headquarters – Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact honored as a Gender Champion
    • Jürg Lauber, Permanent Representative, Mission of Switzerland to the United Nations in New York will launch the New York Chapter of International Gender Champions on 20th March, 2016 during the sixty-first session of the Commission on the Status of Women (CSW61).
      • International Gender Champions is a leadership network that brings together female & male decision-makers to break down gender barriers. Honored gender champions recognize that gender equality is essential for us to achieve peace, defend rights, foster economic growth, and promote the well-being of all and commit to collective actions that have a global impact on work culture and the integration of gender parity across sectors and around the world.
    • As a recognized Gender Champion, Lise Kingo has committed to:
      • Work with the 70+ Global Compact Local Networks to promote gender equality and uptake and implementation of the Women’s Empowerment Principles through the UN Global Compact’s “Making Global Goals Local Business Campaign”.
      • Require all GC Staff to take the UN’s free online course “I know Gender”.