The Women's Empowerment Principles offer seven steps to guide business on how to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. Subtitled Equality Means Business, the Principles emphasize the business case for corporate action to promote gender equality and women's empowerment and are informed by real-life business practices and input gathered from across the globe.
Rather than being prescriptive or a new initiative to which business is asked to subscribe, the WEPs seek to point the way to best practice by elaborating the gender dimension of good corporate citizenship, the UN Global Compact, and business' role in sustainable development.
The WEPs were primarily developed for the business community. However, other civil society stakeholders, international organizations and governments have embraced the WEPs as a tool for engaging with the private sector and a reference point for reviewing their own policies and practices related to gender equality and women’s empowerment as a platform and used as input to policy. They are being utilized as a basis for dialogue and action to advance and empower women.
The WEPs Partnership is grateful for financial and in-kind support from the businesses and other organizations.
The CEO Statement of Support encourages business leaders to use the seven Principles as guideposts for actions that advance and empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community, and communicate progress through the use of sex-disaggregated data and other benchmarks.
UN Women and the UN Global Compact Office will continue to provide opportunities for companies to share experiences, expertise and knowledge and to work together via a virtual network of interested persons' and an annual Women's Empowerment Principles event in New York City scheduled to coincide with International Women's Day in March. The WEPs team strives to bring opportunities and resources to increase knowledge and engagement.
There is no formal reporting or disclosure requirement associated with signing the CEO Statement. However, since the importance of results and impact cannot be overstated, companies are strongly encouraged to set specific benchmarks and targets for progress towards gender equality and to use sex-disaggregated data when possible to report on progress to their stakeholders and many companies are doing just that.
In response to requests from companies for further guidance and suggestions on how to track and report on progress towards implementation, the WEPs partnership team launched WEPs-specific reporting guidance that takes into consideration the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) framework and the UN Global Compact Communication on Progress (COP) requirement. The Guidance has been now updated to align with new GRI G4 guidelines.
Further, as of 1 October 2014, UN Global Compact participants that have signed the CEO Statement of Support for the WEPs will now have the opportunity to answer four new gender specific questions when submitting their COP. These questions will provide an avenue for companies to transparently disclose their efforts around women’s empowerment and gender equality, while also communicating their progress in applying the Principles.