Women's Empowerment Principles

Equality Means Business

A joint initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact.

The Women's Empowerment Principles* are a set of Principles for business offering guidance on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. They are the result of a collaboration between UN Women and the United Nations Global Compact. The development of the Principles included an international multi-stakeholder consultation process, which was launched in March 2009.

Subtitled Equality Means Business, the Principles emphasize the business case for corporate action to promote gender equality and women's empowerment and are informed by real-life business practices and input gathered from across the globe. Rather than being prescriptive or a new initiative to which business is asked to subscribe, the Women's Empowerment Principles seek to point the way to best practice by elaborating the gender dimension of good corporate citizenship, the UN Global Compact, and business' role in sustainable development. As well as being a useful guide for business, it is hoped that the Principles will inform other stakeholders, including governments, in their engagement with business.

The Women’s Empowerment Principles were launched on 9 March 2010 in celebration of International Women's Day at a day-long conference in New York for the private sector, civil society and Government to explore the application of the Principles in various contexts.  In brief, the Principles are:

1. Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality;

2. Treat all women and men fairly at work – respect and support human rights and nondiscrimination;

3. Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers;

4. Promote education, training and professional development for women;

5. Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women;

6. Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy; and

7. Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality.

International

For further information, please contact Lauren Gula (gulal@un.org), UN Global Compact Office and  Laraine Mills (laraine.mills@unwomenorg), or see the UN Global Compact's page on the Women's Empowerment Principles.

New Zealand

The UN Women National Committee Aotearoa New Zealand  is working with  the NZ Federation of Business and Professional Women and the Equal Employment Organization at the Human Rights Commission, to persuade NZ businesses to sign on to the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs). We aim to show the companies that have not already embraced the Principles that their businesses will be enhanced through employing more women at all levels and in all sectors of their organisation.

Many organisations would point to the high percentage of women in their business. Closer analysis often shows that the women are largely confined to clerical roles or human relations. Women still experience discrimination in employment practice.

The NZ employment statistics show that if they are also Maori, Pasifika or from minority ethnic groups, or have a disability, they are doubly disadvantaged. The WEPs were launched in New Zealand by the Governor-General, the Rt Hon Sir Jerry Mateparae, on the 13 February 2012. The first nine signatories were presented with certificates at this function, which was sponsored by Heidrick and Struggles.

We have hosted roundtables in Auckland, Wellington, Christchurch, Dunedin and Hamilton. The reports of these meetings can be found here. A number of individual ceremonies have also been held to award signatory certificates to companies and business umbrella organisations. We have two levels of signatories: businesses, who qualify for international registration, and business umbrella and similar organisations, who qualify to be NZ signatories.

Click here for the lastest Women's Empowerment Principles Newsletter.

White Camellia Awards

To celebrate the work of the Women's Empowerment Principles signatories, we celebrate the White Camellia Awards.

Aotearoa New Zealand WEPs Signatories

There are 37 WEPs signatories in Aotearoa, comprised of 9 national signatories and 28 international.

For a list of the signatories, see Aotearoa New Zealand WEPs Signatories.

Interested in joining the Women's Empowerment Principles?

Find out more, check out the CEO sign up sheet and Contact Us.