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UN Global Compact Event Considers Gender Equality for Sustainable Business

6 March 2012: The 4th Annual Women's Empowerment Principles (WEP) Event, organized by the UN Global Compact, focused on the theme “Gender Equality for Sustainable Business.” It discussed, among other things, how gender equality fits into the agendas of corporate sustainability and sustainable development.

The event, held on 6 March 2012, in New York, US, brought together companies that have signed the CEO Statement of Support for the WEPs, as well as other businesses and stakeholders. Subtitled “Equality means Business,” the WEPs provide seven steps for empowering women in the workplace, the marketplace and the communities where businesses operate. The event provided a platform for sharing best practices, challenges and lessons learned, and also for discussing how corporate behavior and practices are being transformed to align with the principles.

Addressing the event, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stressed that empowerment and sustainable development have been and will remain top priorities for his second term. He stressed that sustainability cannot be achieved without empowering women and highlighted the need to remove the barriers to women's participation in the economy. UN Women Executive Director Michelle Bachelet noted that countries and companies with higher gender equality enjoy higher levels of growth and performance. Global Compact Executive Director Georg Kell highlighted that corporate sustainability and gender equality concerns often remain disconnected, but that companies are increasingly recognizing that business can maximize its contribution to sustainable development by prioritizing and integrating gender equality and women's empowerment as key components of corporate sustainability.

The Women's Empowerment Principles -Equality Means Business is a joint initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact. [WEP and Event Webpage] [UN Secretary-General's Statement] [UN Women Press Release]