LDC-IV, Istanbul: Ms. Bachelet Makes Case for Women’s Engagement in Global Business Value Chain, Promotes Women’s Empowerment Principles as Useful Tool

Date: Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Istanbul—As the Fourth UN Conference on Least Developed Countries continued in full swing Tuesday, UN Women Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director Ms. Michelle Bachelet got down to business with high-level executives and leaders to push the case for women's engagement in global value chains.

“Gender equality fundamentally shapes the totality of production, distribution, and consumption within an economy, said Ms. Bachelet in her keynote address at the Global Business Partnership Forum event “The Business and Development Cases for Engaging Women in Global Value Chains, organized by UN Women, the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜSAD), the International Trade Centre (ITC) and the UN Global Compact.

From product conception, through design, production of raw materials and intermediate inputs, marketing, distribution and support to the final consumer, women can play a critical in each node of the value chain, said Ms. Bachelet.

That global value chain is inextricably linked to factors directly connected with women's empowerment, such as food security. The World Bank estimates that rising food prices have pushed 44 million people worldwide into poverty since June 2010. The LDCs have been particularly affected due to their high dependency on food imports. More than 300 million Africans, most of them living in LDCs, lack food security.

Ms. Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women, and Ms. Güler Sabanci, Chairman of Sabanci Holding, display the signed CEO Statement of Support for the Women's Empowerment Principles, 10 May 2011.

Ms. Michelle Bachelet, Executive Director of UN Women, and Ms. Güler Sabanc?, Chairman of Sabanc? Holding, display the signed CEO Statement of Support for the Women's Empowerment Principles, 10 May 2011. (Photo: Sabanc? Holding.)

To tackle such issues, Ms. Bachelet underscored the importance of all stakeholders working together to invest in and support innovative solutions to address the constraints that many women workers and entrepreneurs are faced with throughout the value chain. As a useful tool, she also introduced the Women's Empowerment Principles — a set of Principles, developed by UN Women and United Nations Global Compact, to offer guidance to businesses and the private sector on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community.

Other speakers similarly highlighted the need for a holistic approach to strengthening all aspects of women's economic participation, including in global value chains, and for multi-stakeholder collaboration and collective action. They further welcomed the Women's Empowerment Principles as a useful tool.

The event concluded with Ms. Guler Sabanci's announcement of her commitment to the Women's Empowerment Principles, on behalf of her company, Sabanci Holding — the first Turkish company to sign the CEO Statement of Support for he Principles.

“When we sign the Women's Empowerment Principles, we, as Sabanci, show our support for the cause of gender equality…this is why we believe it is crucial to sign…so that we may start a positive change… and we hope that others will follow suit, Ms. Sabanci said after signing. “We will continue to be the standard bearers of this noble cause in both domestic and global business circles.

Distinguished speakers at the event included Mr. Ekrem Yener, Chief Expansion Officer of Turkcell & Vice Chair of the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD (BIAC) Ad Hoc Group on Africa; Ms. Ümit Boyner, President of the Turkish Industry and Business Association (TÜS?AD); Ms. Meg Jones, Women and Trade Programme Development Manager of the International Trade Centre (ITC); Ms. Nur Ger, President of Suteks Textile & Chair of TÜS?AD's Gender Equality Working Group.

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