UN Women Executive Director calls on private sector to boost women’s empowerment and entrepreneurship at the Economic Empowerment Summit in Sharjah

3 December 2017

Kicks off the joint programme to advance business opportunities for women, with UAE and Proctor & Gamble

UN Women Executive Director, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, is in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, from 4 to 5 December, for the 2017 Women’s Economic Empowerment Global Summit.

The Summit, hosted by the NAMA Women Advancement Establishment, in partnership with UN Women, is themed “Women Excelling in the Economy.” At the Summit, global and regional experts will highlight how companies, governments, international organizations and civil society can work together to increase the participation of women-owned enterprises in value chains and create decent jobs for women.

Executive Director will celebrate the co-organizing of the Summit as the first joint activity under the partnership with NAMA. Following the Summit, UN Women will continue to work with NAMA towards  a transformative, results-driven international programme, “Stimulating Equal Opportunities for Women Entrepreneurs”, with support from leading global company Proctor & Gamble. The programme aims to create business opportunities for women and in collaboration with companies, governments and entrepreneurs, make value chains work for women, in UAE, South Africa and other countries.

The Sharjah conference is taking place in the context of the global campaign, ‘16 Days of Activism Against Gender-Based Violence’, which raises awareness and advocates action on the pandemic of violence that impacts one in three women globally. Violence against women comes at an enormous cost to women’s economic empowerment and the economy as a whole. Sexual harassment costs a typical Fortune 500 company $6.7 million a year in absenteeism, low productivity, and employee turnover. The Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a UN Women-Global Compact initiative, provides seven recommendations to guide companies to empower women in the workplace, marketplace and community. Tackling sexual harassment is a major priority of the Principles.

As part of the global activism of the 16 Days Campaign, Sharjah’s iconic Flag Island will be lit in orange on 4 December.

Women’s economic empowerment is key to driving sustainable livelihoods and economic growth for all. For instance, recent research shows that if women play an identical role in labour markets to that of men, as much as $28 trillion, or 26 percent, could be added to global annual GDP by 2025.

With high-level participants pledging concrete actions, the Sharjah Summit will be an opportunity to promote multi-stakeholder partnerships among governments, civil society and the private sector to implement the recommendations of the UN Secretary General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment.

Set up by the former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon during his tenure, the High-Level Panel identified seven key drivers for women’s economic empowerment worldwide, which include improving public sector practices in employment and procurement, changing business culture and practice, and increasing women’s digital and financial inclusion, skills development and ownership of property.

In addition to participating in the Summit, the Executive Director is expected to meet with high-level representatives in Sharjah, including H.H. Sheikha Fatima Bint Mubarak El Ketbi, the Mother of the Nation, and H.H. Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, the host of the Summit.

UN Women.