Organized by the UN Global Compact and Global Compact Network India, and driven by four strong supporters of the Women’s Empowerment Principles (BNP Paribas, Deloitte, HCL Technologies and Sodexo), the event highlighted the essential role that businesses can and must play to realize gender equality and achieve sustainable development.  

Guided by the Women’s Empowerment Principles (WEPs), participants reflected on the persistent barriers to advancing gender equality, showcased promising solutions and approaches and highlighted how companies throughout India are scaling up diversity, inclusion and sustainability strategies to mitigate risks and maximise positive impact.  The event also showcased how WEPs signatories can come together to inspire further gender equality action in India.

Jagran Pehel, a division of Shri Puranchandra Gupta Smarak Trust, is also a life member of the network and marked its presence at the event as panelist.

Speaking on the side-lines of the event, Dinesh K. Sarraf, President, Global Compact Network India and Chairman & Managing Director Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, said, “more and more businesses are recognizing that gender equality is not just the right thing to do, but the smart thing to do. In order for businesses to differentiate from the rest of their peers, equal policies for men and women are essential.”

“The WEPs provide a useful framework for companies to take a comprehensive approach to achieving gender equality in their workplaces, marketplaces and communities,” he said.

Speaking at the event, Pooran Chandra Pandey, Executive Director of the Global Compact Network India said, “with the UN set to roll out a new set of goals in September 2015, signalling a new chapter for the “global partnership” for ensuring sustainable development, gender equality is being seen as a central theme for achieving these new goals and targets.”  

Elaborating on the theme and initiative Lauren Gula, Senior Manager of Sustainability and Women’s Empowerment at UN Global Compact, who gave the opening remarks, stated, “The WEPs provide a ready-made platform to engage business to do its part to advance Goal 5 of the Sustainable Development Goals, which is focused on the empowerment of women and girls, as well as a range of gender related targets across the 17 SDGs. “

“In addition to gender equality being a sustainable development goal in its own rights, women’s empowerment is a critical enabler to achieving a wide range of development objectives and essential to propelling businesses’ operations and goals.,“ he said.

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