More than 600 Representatives from Business, Government and Civil Society Call for Gender Equality at the United Nations

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Robert Skinner, UNOP, with Lise Kingo, UN Global Compact, and Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, UN Women at the 2019 Women’s Empowerment Principles Forum. Photo credit: UN Women/Amanda Voisard


UN Women, the United Nations Global Compact and United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP) and UN Women convened over 600 representatives from business, Government and civil society this week to discuss business action to advance gender equality and women’s empowerment.

Held in the ECOSOC Chamber at the Headquarters of the United Nations in New York, the 2019 Women’s Empowerment Principles Forum discussed rel="noopener noreferrer" how the Women’s Empowerment Principles  can help business, investors, Governments and other stakeholders ensure that women help define and benefit from opportunities in the changing world of work. Convened each rel="noopener noreferrer" March as part of the annual rel="noopener noreferrer" session of the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women, the WEPs Forum is the key moment for business to come to the table at the UN to discuss strategies and best practices from the private sector on empowering women and advancing their equal participation in the global workforce.

“It’s time for all companies to get really serious about women’s empowerment,” said Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. “Gender equality can drive economic growth, financial performance and corporate sustainability, but we are still 202 years away from economic parity between men and women. We need all stakeholders to take urgent action.”

“The UN Office for Partnerships is proud to support the 2019 Women Empowerment Principles Forum,” said Robert Skinner, Executive Director of UNOP. “It is key for the UN system to engage the private sector to strengthen action on gender equality at the workplace, in supply chains and in communities.”

Reflecting on the business case for women’s empowerment, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, said: “The evidence is clear: investing in women as employees, entrepreneurs, customers, decision-makers, community partners and advocates is good for everyone. With thanks to the contribution and partnership of the European Union, UN Women continues to promote and scale the Women’s Empowerment Principles, to provide businesses with a framework to advance gender equality while increasing their profitability, sustainability and credibility.”

The Women’s Empowerment Principles emphasize the business case for corporate action to promote gender equality and women's empowerment. Since their launch in 2010, the principles have helped transform business policies, practices and approaches to advance gender equality and create opportunities for women and girls. To date, more than 2,200 businesses have endorsed the principles.

The Forum was be moderated by Katherine Bell, Editor in Chief, Barron’s and speakers included Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, Lise Kingo, Executive Director of UN Global Compact, Robert Skinner, Executive Director, UN Office for Partnerships, Mara Marinaki Ambassador, Principal Advisor of the European Union, and Deborah Gibbins, Chief Operating Officer, Mary Kay Inc., among others.

The Forum was made possible with the generous support of the European Union and Mary Kay Inc., a Women’s Empowerment Principles signatory.  

Companies everywhere are encouraged rel="noopener noreferrer" to sign the Women’s rel="noopener noreferrer" Empowerment Principles — get started here.


About the United Nations Global Compact

As a special initiative of the UN Secretary-General, the United Nations Global Compact is a call to companies everywhere to align their operations and strategies with ten universal principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption. Launched in 2000, the mandate of the UN Global Compact is to guide and support the global business community in advancing UN goals and values through responsible corporate practices. With more than 9,500 companies and 3,000 non-business signatories based in over 160 countries, and 70 Local Networks, it is the largest corporate sustainability initiative in the world. For more information, follow @globalcompact on social media and visit our website at

About the United Nations Office for Partnerships

UNOP plays an overarching role as the gateway for partnerships with the United Nations and serves as a platform for more effective partner engagement with the UN development system. UNOP supports a diverse range of stakeholders from all sectors to connect them to opportunities for partnerships with the UN.

About UN Women

UN Women is the UN organization dedicated to gender equality and the empowerment of women. A global champion for women and girls, UN Women was established to accelerate progress on meeting their needs worldwide.

UN Women supports UN Member States as they set global standards for achieving gender equality, and works with governments and civil society to design laws, policies, programmes and services needed to ensure that the standards are effectively implemented and truly benefit women and girls worldwide. It works globally to make the vision of the Sustainable Development Goals a reality for women and girls and stands behind women’s equal participation in all aspects of life, focusing on four strategic priorities: Women lead, participate in and benefit equally from governance systems; Women have income security, decent work and economic autonomy; All women and girls live a life free from all forms of violence; Women and girls contribute to and have greater influence in building sustainable peace and resilience, and benefit equally from the prevention of natural disasters and conflicts and humanitarian action. UN Women also coordinates and promotes the UN system’s work in advancing gender equality.



UN Global Compact
Colleen Connors
Manager, Communications
Tel: +1 929 354 6744

UN Office for Partnerships
Lucie Brigham | Chief of Office
United Nations Office for Partnerships
Tel: +1 (212) 963 3441

UN Women Media Enquiries

Photographer & Videographer Credit: UN Women/Amanda Voisard
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