Statement by UN Women Executive Director Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, on the establishment of a High-Level Panel for Women’s Economic Empowerment


On 21 January, at the World Economic Forum, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced the establishment of a High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. UN Women will host the independent Secretariat of the Panel, with the backing of the United Kingdom, and welcomes this strong commitment to work together to provide thought leadership and mobilize action on the critical issues of improving economic outcomes for women, and promoting women’s leadership in driving sustainable, inclusive and environmentally sensitive economic growth.

Under the leadership of co-Chairs President Luis Guillermo Solis of Costa Rica and CEO of IKEA Switzerland, Simona Scarpaleggia, the eminent Panel will combine the knowledge, networks and voice of members from government, business, academia, civil society and youth, including the heads of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank Group, for the economic empowerment of women through the implementation of the 2030 Agenda. We look to all panelists to call for integrated action by governments, development partners, private sector and civil society to address the Sustainable Development Goals through cross-cutting policy solutions, technological innovations and targeted financing.

Specifically, the Panel will raise awareness on barriers to women’s economic empowerment, encourage gender mainstreaming, and through its rigorous analysis of evidence and extensive consultation, make actionable recommendations to realize the goals and targets in the 2030 Agenda. The Panel will galvanize private sector leadership in tackling discrimination and improving opportunities and outcomes for women, and equip civil society with further arguments to address norms and perceptions that inhibit women’s economic empowerment. And, crucially, the Panel will help increase financial commitments from development partners for evidence-based interventions targeting the economic empowerment of women.

The Panel promises to be strong, balanced and influential. I look forward to the inaugural meeting of the High-Level Panel that will coincide with the 60th session of the Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations in March 2016, and the Panel’s first report containing action-oriented recommendations in September 2016. This panel will make an important contribution to releasing trapped potential: identifying the current limitations on progress and shaping the drive for women’s economic empowerment throughout the world.