In addition to influencing the making and implementation of laws and general attitudes, Zonta clubs and districts can now extend their advocacy efforts to the business sector. We can foster the adoption of Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs) in the practices of our own network, in the practices of our employers, and in the practices of other employers in our communities and countries.
Equality Means Business
The Women’s Empowerment Principles - Equality Means Business is a partnership initiative of UN Women and the UN Global Compact that encourages engagement with business, civil society, the United Nations and Governments to advance and empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. The Principles, which were informed by real-life business practices, emphasize the business case for corporate action to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment and seek to elaborate the gender dimension of corporate responsibility, the UN Global Compact, and business’ role in sustainable development. While designed as a tool for business to strengthen and create company policies and programs to achieve gender equality, these seven Principles also provide a platform for a multi-stakeholder approach to advancing gender equality.
The 7 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 of 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
Support from CEOs
The primary way in which a company can engage with the WEPs initiative is through the WEPs CEO Statement of Support. This Statement offers business leaders an opportunity to signal their support for the overall goal of advancing and empowering women. Signers of the CEO Statement underscore that equal treatment of women and men is not just the right thing to do – it is also good for business and should be a corporate priority. Please note Principle 7 on measuring and reporting. The CEO Statement of Support is only for corporate entities with 10 employees or more.
For detailed information on the WEPs, please visit http://weprinciples.org where core background documents can be found. These include a Women’s Empowerment Principles Booklet and the CEO Statement of Support, both with translated versions.
Zonta International supports the Women’s Empowerment Principles
Zonta International supports the goals and mission of the WEPs. Clubs and districts are encouraged to use the WEPs as one of their advocacy tools and, when possible, to seek collaboration with UN Women offices, UN National Committees and local UN Global Compact representatives.
Ideas for club and district engagement:
- Educate members about the WEPs
- If needed, translate WEPs materials into the local language (Translations are already available in Arabic, Chinese, French, German, Japanese, Portuguese, Russian, Serbian, Spanish and Turkish.)
- Publicize the WEPs on club/district websites
- Form a WEPs committee/working group
- Collect examples of what members’ businesses are doing in line with the WEPs
- Contact leading businesses in communities/countries to inform about WEPs
- Organize an event to raise awareness about the WEPs
- Launch a CEO Statement of Support signature drive.