By Roberta Attanasio, Forever Leaders Editor
Since the launch of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) on International Women’s Day in March 2010, more than 1,000 CEOs from around the world have signed the CEO Statement of Support for the WEPs, thus expressing their interest in gender equality. But what are the WEPs? Adapted from the Calvert Women’s Principles®, they are a set of seven Principles for business, offering guidance on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. They are subtitled Equality Means Business, and are the result of a collaboration between the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), and the United Nations Global Compact.
Although the WEPs were primarily developed for the business community, they are now used as a basis for dialogue and action to advance and empower women by a variety of stakeholders, especially international organizations and governments that wish to engage with the private sector. Indeed, WEPs provide a reference point for reviewing policies and practices related to gender equality and women’s empowerment.
The seven Principles are:
- Principle 1: Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality
- Principle 2: Treat all women and men fairly at work – respect and support human rights and nondiscrimination
- Principle 3: Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers
- Principle 4: Promote education, training and professional development for women
- Principle 5: Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women
- Principle 6: Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy
- Principle 7: Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality
The CEO Statement of Support for the WEPs underscores that equal treatment of women and men is not just the right thing to do—it is also good for business. By signing it, corporate executives encourage fellow business leaders to support the WEPs, and directly demonstrate the first Principle: “Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality”.
The video below provides an overview of the WEPs:
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