Empowering women to participate fully in economic life across all sectors is essential to build stronger economies, achieve internationally agreed goals for development and sustainability, and improve the quality of life for women, men, families and communities.
The private sector is a key partner in efforts to advance gender equality and empower women. Current research demonstrating that gender diversity helps businesses perform better signals that self-interest and common interest can come together. Yet, ensuring the inclusion of women’s talents, skills and energies—from executive offices to the factory floor and the supply chain—requires intentional actions and deliberate policies.
The Women’s Empowerment Principles offer practical guidance to business and the private sector on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. Developed through a partnership between UN Women and the United Nations Global Compact, the Principles are designed to support companies in reviewing existing policies and practices—or establishing new ones—to realize women’s empowerment.
In brief, the Principles are:
- Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality
- Treat all women and men fairly at work—respect and support human rights and nondiscrimination
- Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers
- Promote education, training and professional development for women
- Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women
- Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy
- Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality
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. They also reflect the interests of governments and civil society and serve to support interactions among stakeholders, as achieving gender equality requires the participation of all actors at all levels.
Introduced on International Women’s Day 2010, the Women’s Empowerment Principles are adapted from the Calvert Women’s Principles®. The Calvert Women’s Principles were originally developed in partnership with UNIFEM (now UN Women) and launched in 2004 as the first global corporate code of conduct focused exclusively on empowering, advancing and investing in women worldwide.