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2019 Women’s Empowerment Principles Forum

  • UNHQ (ECOSOC Chamber) New York City USA (map)

The global movement for gender equality and women’s empowerment has broken new ground in recent years, by making headlines in media on sexual harassment and discrimination in the workplace globally and putting the business community in the spotlight. From driving the representation and leadership of women in management and investment decisions, ensuring equal pay for work of equal value, to increasing support for women-owned businesses and entrepreneurs, companies of all sizes and from all sectors play a tremendous role in advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace and community.

In tandem with the emergence of gender equality as critical corporate sustainability and risk mitigation issues, business action to advance women’s empowerment is also central to the achievement of global multi-stakeholder agendas, such as the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

These issues set the context for the 2019 Women’s Empowerment Principles Forum, to be held on 14 March 2019. Since its launch in 2010, the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) initiative has been at the forefront of transforming business policies, practices and approaches to advance gender equality and create opportunities for women and girls, engaging more than 2,000 businesses globally to date.

The 2019 WEPs Forum will look to the future and consider how the WEPs can help business, investors, Governments and other stakeholders navigate new opportunities and work collectively to ensure that women help define and benefit from opportunities in the future of work. The Forum will also explore how to maintain momentum on advancing gender equality, accelerate the pace of progress and position responsible businesses to rise to the challenge.


Want to know about WEPs? Watch this video and learn more about the Women’s Empowerment Principles.

Want to join the WEPs community? The CEO of your company should complete the CEO Statement of Support and upload here.


* Photo: 2018 WEPs Forum. Credit: UN Women/Ryan Brown 

2018 Edition

Empowering women to participate fully in economic life is essential to building stronger economies and improving the quality of life for both women and men. The private sector has a central and active role to play in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Development is about how we all choose to do business and how we reflect principles of equality on an everyday level, so they permeate our cultures, values, performance and business practices.

Companies drive gains in productivity, competitiveness and innovation by developing policies and practices to improve gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and community. Developing gender responsive procurement and sourcing from women-owned businesses is another key way companies are both promoting equality and opening themselves up to new market opportunities.

We cannot meet the objectives of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Global Goals unless women and girls are on an equal footing with men and boys, and the private sector is essential to this mission.

In the spirit of advancing the crucial role of the private sector to achieve Goal 5: Gender Equality, UN Women, the United Nations Global Compact and the United Nations Office for Partnerships have joined forces to organize the annual Women’s Empowerment Principles Forum. The Forum will take place in New York on 15 March 2018 and provide a platform for presenting ongoing, successful business initiatives that aim to advance women’s empowerment, economic inclusion and entrepreneurship globally.

The objectives of this half-day Forum are to:

  • Build awareness of business innovations that accelerate women’s empowerment and have a real impact on the quality of life for women, men, families and communities;

  • Identify key actions to address the financing gap for women’s empowerment; and

  • Drive change and commit to scaled-up partnerships between the UN and the private sector to achieve the 2030 Agenda through women’s economic empowerment.

The ambition of the conference is to showcase private sector initiatives for gender equality and to examine how these activities can be scaled up. Private sector representatives have been invited to demonstrate their work fast-tracking women’s equal participation in the workforce, share their personal experience as women entrepreneurs, as well as to discuss how business can help ensure women’s access to finance and empowerment across the value chain.