helloNira has adopted the United Nations Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) as part of its commitment to promoting gender equality and women’s empowerment in the workplace, marketplace and community.
We congratulate helloNira for taking the first step on their WEPs journey. We consider helloNira a key partner in closing gender gaps in the workplace, marketplace and community and in advancing the Sustainable Development Goals.” – PHUMZILE MLAMBO-NGCUKA | UN Women Executive Director.
According to the United Nations, companies, business leaders and entrepreneurs are essential agents for gender equity and sustainable development.
Women represent half of the world’s population, yet remain under-represented in the global workforce. Not only an affront to human rights and equality, barriers to women’s empowerment also hurt economic growth. That’s why we are calling on business leaders everywhere to implement the Women’s Empowerment Principles and I want to thank you for joining the evergrowing community of WEPs signatories. We need ALL companies to get onboard, because gender equality is more than a moral responsibility. Equality means business.” – LISE KINGO, UN Global Compact | Executive Director.
With an emphasis on the need for commitment from the business community, the initiative lists seven principles that institutions must follow, providing guidance on how to empower women in workplace, market and community.
7 Women’s Empowerment Principles
- Establish high-level corporate leadership for gender equality.
- Treat all women and men fairly at work – respect and support human rights and nondiscrimination.
- Ensure the health, safety and well-being of all women and men workers.
- Promote education, training and professional development for women.
- Implement enterprise development, supply chain and marketing practices that empower women.
- Promote equality through community initiatives and advocacy.
- Measure and publicly report on progress to achieve gender equality.
Those principles are built on initiatives and best practices related to business and women, and aim to achieve the gender equality in the labor market.
Launched on the 8th of March, 2010, currently, WEPs have 2,675 members worldwide. Among giant companies, such as Unilever, C&A, Avon and Mc Donald’s, there are thousands of business, with different sizes and from various industries.
For microenterprises, like helloNira, joining an initiative like this can be a way to get guidance on the topic and make difference.
Lilian Nira, founder of helloNira, got to know the WEPs when she was looking for a way to support women and collaborate, as a businesswoman, to reduce gender inequality. “I wanted to know how I can help, how I can understand more about it, what actions I should take as a company and what is the best way to work in this direction. Sometimes I question myself what my role really is”, Lilian explained.
Most of my clients are women. These women are part of an economy that is still very masculine. Since these women can use their business to be independent and to support their families, that generates value to the society where they belong. This improvement progresses gradually, obviously, but it is crucial in their reality.”
Gender equality is one of the attributions of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
Inequality in numbers
- Despite considerable progress in eradicating poverty, UN Women estimates that over 1.2 billion people survive with less than one dollar a day. According to the same survey, 70% of the world’s poor population is female.
- On average, at least six out of ten women are assaulted, forced into sex or otherwise subjected to abuse by an intimate partner throughout their lives, says UN Women.
- A study released by the International Labor Organization (ILO) shows that 70% of women prefer to work outside home and 66.5% of men agree with that. However, currently, only 48.5% of working age women are in the labor market, compared to 75% of men.
- Research shows that the gap is larger in Arab countries (77% of men versus 18% of women are in the job market). Iceland, on the other hand, is the only country that has parity in job opportunities but it has not yet achieved equal pay.
Companies with a gender-balanced boardroom have a 1 in 5 chance of having better business outcomes as a result. 👩💼
Explore our InfoStory on women in management to learn why it's so important to bridge the corporate gender gap. https://t.co/lyBn8wCKOI
— International Labour Organization (@ilo) October 30, 2019
- Women with young children are the most affected. The factor that the organization calls the “professional penalty of motherhood” not only acts in access to employment, but follows women for much of their professional career, making it more difficult, for example, to reach leadership positions.
- The ILO also points out that there is a gap of 20% between men’s and women’s salary.
- In the world, 41.5% of women with university degree do not work. Between men, this rate drops to 17.2%.
- According to UNESCO, about two-thirds of adults in the world who have not completed basic education are women. One in five girls enrolled in elementary school do not complete primary school.
- Women’s Learning Partnership (WLP) states that growth in schooling among girls decreases child mortality and reduces family size.
Equality in favor of business
In addition to ensure compliance with one of the UN-recognized human rights, which is gender equality, this labor market imbalanced scenario generates an average loss of 15% in the economies of the countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Deloitte report highlighted the power of women consumers, who control spendings around $ 20 trillion worldwide and influence 80% of purchasing decisions. According to Goldman Sachs, countries and regions could significantly increase their GDP if the discrepancy in employment rates between men and women diminishes. The Eurozone, for example, could increase its GDP by 13% and Japan by 16%.
Although studies show that advancing gender equality in the labor market generates business and increases productivity, the progress is slow.
How to join WEPs
Membership of the program can be made by any company that is willing to support the seven principles towards gender equality and women’s empowerment.
To integrate the initiative, follow this steps:
- Access the program website;
- Go to “WEPs”> “Sign the WEPs”;
- Download and sign the “CEO Statement of Support”;
- Fill out the form;
- Submit the statement along with the form through the site.
Done! Wait for confirmation of adhesion and guidance from the managers of the initiative.