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June 22, 2010
Global CEOs Express Support for Empowerment Principles for Women
    by Robert Kropp

The United Nations Development Fund for Women and the UN Global Compact announce that 38 corporate CEOs have signed a Statement of Support for Women's Empowerment Principles.

In March, the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM) and the United Nations Global Compact published Women's Empowerment Principles – Equality Means Business, a document that establishes "a set of considerations to help the private sector focus on key elements integral to promoting gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and community."

The partnership and subsequent document were adapted from a 2004 report by
Calvert Group entitled Calvert Women's Principles, which stated, "Well-governed, socially responsible companies are better positioned to manage risk and deliver long-term value to their shareholders."

The seven principles advanced by the document include promotion of gender equality, equal opportunity, health and safety, education and training, enterprise development and supply chain practices, community leadership and engagement, and transparency in measurement and reporting.

Intended to help advance the third of the
Millennium Development Goals—to "promote gender equality and empower women"—in time for the 2015 deadline established by the UN, the partnership noted in a recent press release that "Women continue to be vastly under-represented in top positions and on boards."

Furthermore, according to a 2007 report by the
World Economic Forum, "the gap between women and men on economic participation and political empowerment remains wide."

In response to the publication of "Women's Empowerment Principles – Equality Means Business," the partnership announced this week that 38 corporate CEOs have signed the
CEO Statement of Support, which states, "A broad concept of sustainability and corporate responsibility that embraces women's empowerment as a key goal will benefit us all."

The US-based signatories to the CEO Statement of Support include Carlson, Levi Strauss, and Symantec. In addition, according to the partnership, "CEOs from consulting and investment companies, including Deloitte Touche Tohmatsu, Ernst and Young, Calvert Group, and
Pax World Management added their support, underlining the business case that investment in women results in more sustainable and profitable companies."


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