UN Women Executive Director to call on businesses to power up sustainable development and women’s economic empowerment in Davos

Date: Sunday, January 15, 2017

Executive Director of UN Women, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, will travel to Davos, Switzerland for the 47th Annual meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) from 17 - 21 January. At the WEF, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka will meet with leaders in government, civil society and business, to strengthen alliances to drive women’s economic empowerment and call for active engagement and leadership of business in fulfilling the Sustainable Development Goals and advancing gender equality and women’s empowerment.

On 17 January, the Executive Director will join a roundtable discussion on women’s economic empowerment, hosted by Tupperware Brands, where the results of new research about confidence as a driver of women’s economic earning will be presented.  Later that day, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka will provide special remarks on “the challenge of connecting the unconnected from a perspective of women and girls” at a special programme of the Broadband Commission for Digital Development and WEF, “Internet for All”. Together with ITU, the Executive Director will also announce EQUALS: The Global Partnership for Gender Equality in the Digital Age, a global partnership platform that will pool experiences, expertise and resources to scale up good practices that ensure no woman or girl is left behind.

On 18 January, the Executive Director will join a conversation with business leaders, hosted by HeForShe IMPACT Corporate Champion Unilever, about the role of social norms and stereotypes in achieving gender equality in the workplace. The next morning, she will participate in a panel discussion around the launch of a report by UN Foundation and BNY Mellon, “Return on Equality”, which shows the pivotal role that investors can play in closing the global gender gap. The forthcoming report demonstrates that achieving gender parity across products and services in just five sectors—water, contraception, telecommunications, energy and child care—could unlock a market of more than US $300 billion in incremental annual spending by 2025.

At the Microsoft Roundtable “Empowering Women: The Role of Technology” on 20 January, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka will deliver opening remarks and join an interactive discussion about public-private collaboration to bridge the gender digital gap.

Also on 20 January, the Executive Director will attend the UN Women Private Sector Leadership Advisory Council (PSLAC) meeting, where private sector partners are expected to agree on the “Transparency Commitment”—a framework for public reporting on gender equality, including in the supply chain. The best practice framework will build upon UN Women’s existing work on Women’s Empowerment Principles, the Sustainable Development Goals and the HeforShe campaign. The members of PSLAC, which includes private sector leaders such as Paul Polman (Unilever), Dominic Barton (McKinsey & Co), Muhtar Kent (Coca-Cola Company), Stuart Smith (Ogilvy) and Rick Goings (Tupperware), will consider adopting the Transparency Commitment matrix and mechanisms to amplify their impact by encouraging other private sector leaders to step up.

En route to Davos, in Geneva, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka will also speak at the High-level Meeting on “Bringing Down Legal Barriers to Women’s Economic Empowerment: An Economic and Business Imperative”, organized by the UN Global Compact, ITC, the East-West Center and the International Geneva Gender Champions, on 16 January.

The Executive Director’s discussions and events will feed into the forthcoming Commission on the Status of Women, the largest gathering on advancing women’s rights and empowerment, held in New York annually. The priority theme this year is “Women’s Economic Empowerment in the Changing world of Women at Work”.

Highlights

Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka participated in an #SDGLive discussion in the Goal 17 Partnership Space during the World Economic Forum. She spoke about the importance of investing in girls and women to drive progress on the SDGs.

On 18 January, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka participated in a conversation with business leaders about the role of social norms and stereotypes in achieving gender equality in the workplace, hosted by HeForShe IMPACT 10X10X10 Champion Unilever.
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the roundtable discussion on women’s economic empowerment, hosted by Tupperware Brands. Photo: Thomas Oswald
UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka at the roundtable discussion on women’s economic empowerment, hosted by Tupperware Brands. Photo: Thomas Oswald

At a roundtable discussion on women's economic empowerment, hosted by Tupperware Brands, Ms. Mlambo-Ngcuka, Tupperware CEO Rick Goings and other participants discussed the importance of consistent leadership in addressing and changing norms and stereotypes.