Gender is a ‘cross cutting’ issue for the New Zealand Aid programme. This means gender issues are taken into account when designing, implementing and evaluating aid initiatives. The New Zealand Aid Programme considers gender equality and women’s empowerment essential for achieving sustainable, equitable development. The New Zealand Aid programme currently provides $2.5 million in core funding annually to the United Nations agency, UN Women.
One important enterprise resulting from a partnership between the UN Global Compact Office and UN Women is the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a set of guidelines for businesses on empowering women in the workplace, the marketplace and the community.
In early March 2012, participants from civil society, business and academia met in New York to reflect on WEP progress and discuss how businesses already supporting the WEPs are going about realising the principles. Sessions at the two day conference focused on:
Other themes included the importance of engaging men in the WEPs, the business case for gender equality and women’s empowerment, the significance of reporting and communicating progress, multi-stakeholder collaborations to raise awareness of the WEPs and support implementation, the challenge of changing corporate cultures, and understanding consumer influence and its impact on corporate efforts to empower women.
The Women’s Empowerment Principles: