New York

06 March 2013

Secretary-General's Remarks at the 5th Annual Women's Empowerment Principles: Equality Means Business Event [as prepared for delivery]


It is a great pleasure to join you.  We launched the Women’s Empowerment Principles just three years ago.  What started as a campaign to raise awareness of gender equality among business is growing into a global movement for change, equality and inclusion.

Women’s empowerment is atop my priorities as Secretary-General. We must not rest until we end violence against women and ensure women’s full political and economic participation worldwide.

These are essential for upholding the rights of women everywhere, but also critical if we are to achieve sustainable development and peace.

This requires all of us to act. Through the Women’s Empowerment Principles, business has rightly been brought to the table as a partner.

Companies are taking on real challenges – such as addressing biases and stereotypes, and extending inclusion and diversity practices into the supply-chain.

Coalitions of change have emerged around the world … from Brazil to South Africa … from Japan to Turkey … from India to Switzerland.

Today, you have acknowledged corporate leaders who are leading the way to empowering women in the workplace, marketplace and community.

These leaders – and 500 others around the world – have publicly signed a CEO Statement of Support for the principles.

They are demonstrating through action that empowering women is not only the right thing to do, but makes good economic sense.

I also want to recognize Global Compact Local Networks, UN Women’s National Committees and Regional Offices, and a range of governments, UN agencies, and civil society organizations.

I commend all of your efforts.

As we look ahead, I have three requests:

First, help us engage more companies and stakeholders.  Reach out to at least three business leaders in your network and encourage them to join the Women’s Empowerment Principles.

Second, get involved in the post-2015 development agenda discussions, make your views known, and help highlight the importance of gender equality as a driver of growth and progress.

Lastly, help us in the urgent task of improving child and maternal health.

In too many countries, child mortality rates remain shockingly high and women’s access to adequate health care is dangerously limited.

I urge everyone taking part today to support our Every Woman Every Child platform which I launched in 2010 to intensify global action.

Once again, thank you for being here today and for all your work to promote the Women’s Empowerment Principles.

Let us all commit to creating change globally and locally with full equality and opportunity for women everywhere.

Thank you.