Leading businesses, civil society organizations and UN agencies call on governments to abolish legal barriers to women’s economic empowerment


On the heels of the international community's adoption of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), on 26 September in New York, 20 leading businesses, civil society organizations and UN agencies will unite to call on governments around the world to take action to remove barriers to women's economic empowerment. 

Women face legal obstacles in virtually all countries inhibiting their potential to participate effectively in the labour market and contribute fully to sustainable development. As the World Bank Group’s report Women, Business and the Law 2016 details, these include restrictions in access to jobs and finance and limitations on the rights of women to own and use property.

The Call to Action includes a spectrum of concrete actions that governments are urged to take to help create an environment for inclusive economic growth, such as enacting laws that promote a level playing field for women and men, and supporting women’s entrepreneurship through public procurement. It also points to the need for all actors, including business, to implement strategies and policies that foster women’s economic empowerment, highlighting the Business for the Rule of Law Framework, an initiative of the UN Global Compact, and the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEP), a joint initiative of the UN Global Compact and UN Women, as resources that can help governments to engage businesses in achieving national priorities on governance and women's empowerment.

The Call to Action compliments existing appeals for coordination and collaboration between stakeholders to advance gender equality and achieve sustainable development, such as SDG 5, which is dedicated to women’s empowerment; the Partnering for Women’s Empowerment – Equality Means Business statement adopted at the 2015 Women’s Empowerment Principles Event; and the ITC-led Trailblazer Summit Call to Action issued in São Paulo, Brazil, which aims to bring 1 million women-owned businesses to markets by 2020.

For more information see: Call to Action: Bringing Down Legal Barriers for Women’s Economic Empowerment.