Additional partner commitments

Note: The Step It Up campaign ran in 2014–2015 and is no longer active. The campaign pages remain on this website for archival purposes.

In addition to Member States, the following have made commitment statements to Step It Up for gender equality and the empowerment of women.

Regional organizations | Civil society | Private sector

Regional organizations

African Union steps it up: Plans to modernize agriculture where women dominate the workforce, and involve more women in business

The African Union has just adopted Agenda 2063, a vision of its priorities. These include the education of girls and the modernization of agriculture, where 70 per cent of workers are women. Another priority is involving more women in business, which makes sense as a right, and in terms of economic benefits since half the population can contribute more to national development. Since the Beijing Platform for Action was agreed, 22 African countries have achieved a share of women in Parliament of 30 per cent or more. Progress has been made in other areas, but more needs to be done, as exemplified in very strong campaigns against child marriages and human trafficking. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, Chairperson, said: “In Africa, this is the year of women’s empowerment. We have just … adopted Agenda 2063, which is the Africa we want in line with our priorities.”

Council of Europe – Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary-General

“The Council of Europe confirms its commitment to Step it Up to close the gender equality gap and to continue contributing to the implementation of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action and the Sustainable Development Goal 5. The Council of Europe’s Gender Equality Strategy 2014–2017 sets the following strategic objectives—all aiming at transformative action to achieve de facto gender equality: (i) combating gender stereotypes and sexism; (ii) preventing and combating violence against women; (iii) guaranteeing equal access of women to justice; (iv) achieving balanced participation of women and men in political and public decision-making; (v) achieving gender mainstreaming in all policies and measures. A direct consequence of inequality is violence against women. Our “gold standard”—the Istanbul Convention—provides a comprehensive response to prevent violence, protect victims and prosecute the perpetrators. Its monitoring mechanism has just been set up and we all look forward to receiving data that will allow the states parties to better prioritize their actions and strengthen the effectiveness of their response to combat this heinous violation of human rights, together with our partner organizations, including UN Women. I am proud to be a supporter of the “HeforShe”. When you work in human rights you see that the strongest, safest and most prosperous societies are those in which women are empowered and the genders are more equal. Gender equality is not a women or a man issue—it is a human rights issue.”

European Union steps it up: Intends to back equal care responsibilities, ramp up anti-violence measures and put more women on corporate boards

In working with partner countries, the European Union pledges to stop all kinds of gender violence, empower women economically and socially, and support their louder voice in public life. As the world's largest aid donor, it is committed to systematically screening development funding to ensure that assistance helps transform the lives of girls and women worldwide. Through a new initiative for working parents, with an emphasis on the role of fathers, it will promote women's economic independence and the equal sharing of care responsibilities between women and men. Efforts to stop violence against women will involve prevention, protection and prosecution. The European Union will put its full weight behind the Council of Europe [Istanbul] Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence, and if legally possible will accede to it. To put more women in top positions influencing decisions, the European Union is in the final stages of setting a legally binding objective for 40 per cent of listed company board members to be women by 2020. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Frans Timmermans, First Vice-President, said: “True political leadership can make the biggest difference—for a world where men and women can lead the lives they want, rather than lives expected of them.” [ SpeechFull commitment ]

League of Arab States

The Arab League Ministerial Council in its 144th session adopted a regional plan of Action on “Protection of Arab Women: Peace and Security,” calling for meaningful participation of women as leaders at all levels of decision-making to promote peace and contribute to negotiations and conflict resolution. Also at the 144th session, held on 13 September, Arab League Member States adopted the Cairo Declaration and its Strategic Plan of Action as a “Post-2015 Development Agenda for Women in the Arab Region” to be submitted and adopted at the upcoming Arab Summit in the Kingdom of Morocco, in 2016. The League of Arab States declares its commitment towards the implementation of the Cairo Declaration and its Strategic Plan of Action to push for stronger investment in gender equality, policies, gender-responsive budgeting and establish new standards for gender-responsive indicators and statistics. [ Speech ]

Organization of American States steps it up: Commits to broadening the scope and reach of protections of women’s rights

The region has made important strides in strengthening laws for women’s rights and gender equality, showcasing some of the strongest legal protection frameworks in the world. The Organization of American States is committed to broadening rights for more people the region. In terms of women’s rights, there are still limitations on their scope and reach, with the region retaining restrictive laws on sexual and reproductive rights and freedoms, a reality that has to change. Other matters that need to be addressed relate to why women comprise a larger share of the unemployed and have lower salaries. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Luis Almagro, Secretary-General, said: “If women don’t enjoy their rights to life, their human rights to life, if women don’t have right to health and to access public health, then we are too far behind.”

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation steps it up: Aims to increase resources and act in line with the Beijing Platform for Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation maintains it is of paramount importance to aim higher and alter the status quo in terms of gender equality and women’s empowerment. It has established a gender policy advocacy group as a regional mechanism to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment, including through engagement of civil society representatives as key partners. The Association has a crucial role to play in increasing resources to increase gender equality, and is committed to acting in line with the Beijing Platform for Action and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Speaking at the Global Leaders' Meeting on 27 September 2015, Arjun Bahadur Thapa, Secretary-General, said: “It is of paramount importance for us to aim higher and further and altogether to alter the status quo in terms of gender equality and women’s empowerment throughout the world.”

Civil society

Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Cultures of Peru (CHIRAPAQ) –
Tarcila Rivera Zea, Executive Director

“Representation of women around the world, and in particular indigenous women, is important because I think it is indigenous women who are most impacted by climate change. We need to commit and invest in the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and to ensure that the content of the 2030 Agenda seeks to build upon and further support the unmet goals and commitments under the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action. Such political will and such drive will allow us to deliver gender equality, and stamp out remaining inequalities and injustices including violence, discrimination and exclusion from social spheres. An exclusion which still has a female face.” [ Speech ]

Global Network of Women Peacebuilders – Bandana Rana

“The links between gender-based violence and impunity, militarization, military spending, forced migration, displacement, and the prevalence of small arms must be addressed if meaningful gains are to be made. Today more than ever, the contribution of civil society and women’s organizations at the grass-roots level will be key to the implementation and monitoring of the 2030 Agenda...Their work should be recognized and an enabling environment created for them to be able to contribute even more meaningfully as we lead towards 2030. Your political will must address the funding gap with increased, sustained and secure finding to make gender equality a reality. As we move ahead to transform the world with the 2030 development agenda, let us commit to a world where every family rejoices at the birth of a girl; where women and girls no longer face any form of discrimination; where women and girls do not have to live in fear of being sexually and physically abused in homes or on the streets; where care responsibilities are shared equitably and women’s work and contribution is valued and recognized; where women are equally represented in leadership positions, and have their voice heard and acted on by decision-makers; where violence of any form is unacceptable.” [ Speech ]

Private sector

Alibaba Group – Jack Ma, Executive Chairman

“People keep asking me why within 15 years Alibaba can grow so fast. People think it is some miracle, but I want to tell you, [it is] because we have a lot of women: 35 per cent of our founders are women, [as are] 34 per cent of the senior management [and] more than 52 per cent of the employees. … I am much more than optimistic [that] in the future that women can do much better. … More than 30 companies and 10 philanthropic foundations came together to … contribute USD 20 million in support of UN Women … [to] close the gender gap by 2030.”

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation – Melinda Gates, Co-chair

“We understand we’re not going to reach these Sustainable Development Goals unless you put women and girls at the very centre of every piece of this agenda. And the world is recognizing this fact. … When I meet women around the world they’re powerful, they are strong. You give them their voices and … a little bit of economic opportunity or a chance to make decisions and they are strong. They will not just empower themselves, they empower their families. … If we can make sure they’re equipped with the right tools in health, decision-making, and economic opportunities, it starts a virtuous cycle of change for them. I represent a foundation … what we aim to do is be catalysts to work with you. … The last 20 years have seen stunning progress … but we have so much more to do. When … we all sit in this room 15 years from now, I hope we can say we have not just talked about women, we took action on behalf of women. Because if you invest in a woman you invest in everyone else.” [ Speech ]