Special Event: Engaging Philanthropy to Promote Women Empowerment and Gender Equality

The Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), held a special event, “Engaging philanthropy to promote gender equality and women’s empowerment”, organized by the Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA), the United Nations Office for Partnerships (UNOP) and the United Nations Fund for Women (UNIFEM) , in collaboration with the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy (CECP) on 22 February 2010, from 3:00 to 6:00 p.m., at the United Nations Headquarters, New York City. The programme took place on International Corporate Philanthropy Day in the United States.

This event was organized as part of the preparatory process for the 2010 Economic and Social Council’s Annual Ministerial Review (AMR) on the theme, “Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to gender equality and empowerment of women”, to be held during its annual session in July.

Chaired by the President of ECOSOC, with the participation of the Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Ban Ki-moon, the special event gathered a roster of foundations (corporate and non-corporate), private sector companies and civil society representatives that have a particular interest in the areas of gender empowerment and women’s equality. The event started with an opening plenary on “Strengthening partnerships in support of achieving gender equality and the empowerment of women”, and followed by break-out sessions on the themes, “Ending violence against women and girls” and “Promoting women’s economic empowerment”.

The audience comprised of Member States, representatives of the United Nations system, senior giving officers from philanthropic organizations and the private sector, as well as other civil society organizations.

The key objectives of the special event:

The event had a number of co-convenors dedicated to strengthening multi-stakeholder partnerships in support of gender equality and empowerment of women. These include:

United Nations Co-Convenors

Other Co-convenors


Programme and Statements


  • Webcast of the Press Conference, with Amir Dossal, Executive Director, UN Office for Partnerships (Moderator), Ambassador Morten Wetland, Vice-President of ECOSOC and Permanent Representative of Norway to the United Nations, Ms. Sarah Ferguson, Duchess of York, Inés Alberdi, Executive Director, United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), Mary P. Quinn, Senior Manager, Avon Foundation for Women, Geena Davis, Academy Award-winning actor and philanthropist. - English
  • Webcast in Conference Room 2 (Opening and closing of the event; and panel discussion on violence against women) - English / Original language
  • Podcast in ECOSOC Chamber (UN and UNIFEM television short documentaries; Opening and closing of the ECOSOC Special Event; Panel discussion on women empowerment in ECOSOC Chamber)



  • Final report: This publication presents the debates that took place during the Special Event on Engaging Philanthropy to Promote Women’s Empowerment and Gender Equality. Top executives and philanthropy leaders discussed with ECOSOC Members and other partners ways to strengthen partnerships towards Implementing the internationally agreed goals and commitments in regard to gender equality and empowerment of women.


Issues Notes



News from the United Nations

United Nation News on the Special Event

Information for the Press