UN Women launched two reports aiming to advance gender equality and women's economic empowerment.
At the high-level launch events for the publications, officials, celebrities, and representatives of academia, civil society and the private sector presented concrete commitments and discussed policies that need to be implemented in order to achieve “a 50-50 planet” by 2030.
23 September 2016: UN Women launched two reports aiming to advance gender equality and women’s economic empowerment. At the high-level launch events for the publications, officials, celebrities, and representatives of academia, civil society and the private sector presented concrete commitments and discussed policies that need to be implemented in order to achieve “a 50-50 planet” by 2030.
The first report, titled ‘HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 University Parity Report,’ was launched on 20 September 2016, on the sidelines of the 71st UN General Assembly (UNGA). The HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 initiative, launched in 2015, convenes ten heads of state, ten global CEOs and ten university presidents to accelerate gender equality “in boardrooms, classrooms and world capitals.”
In the university parity report, ten global universities lay out 30 commitments and chart their progress towards achieving gender parity. Among these commitments, 70% committed to closing the gender gap in administration; 40% committed to closing the gender gap in academia; 30% committed to creating centers of excellence in gender equality; and 40% committed to ending violence on campus. The ten ‘University HeForShe IMPACT Champions’ present transparent baseline figures on the representation of women across their student and faculty populations, against which future progress will be measured and published on an annual basis. The dataset includes women at undergraduate and graduate levels, as well as in faculty and senior leadership roles. The publication also highlights three key imbalances that universities can address: the ratio of men to women represented in university faculty and senior administrative positions; the fields of study selected by young women versus young men; and the number of female students at universities compared with their equal access to academic and professional career tracks.
Addressing participants at the launch of the report, UN Goodwill Ambassador Emma Watson noted that a good university is like “a tiny utopia – it’s a miniature model of how the whole of society could look.” She added that the IMPACT Champions “have chosen to make gender parity a central part of the way they educate their students.” Irina Bokova, Director-General of the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), stressed the importance of the HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 Initiative, explaining that she sees the face of the new global agenda “as that of a 12-year-old girl, in school, not forced into marriage or work,” or as “a 20-year-old woman, at university, creating and sharing knowledge.”
Also during the UNGA high-level week, the High-Level Panel (HLP) on Women’s Economic Empowerment presented its first findings to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, in a report titled ‘Leave no one behind: a call to action for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment.’ The report addresses pay, productivity and prospects of women in the formal sector, informal work and women-owned enterprises. It features examples of policy and programming initiatives that are proven to have a positive impact, suggesting they should be scaled up. It also highlights seven primary drivers to unlock the potential of women to fully participate in the economy and achieve financial independence: tackling adverse norms and promoting positive role models; ensuring legal protections and reforming discriminatory laws and regulations; recognizing, reducing and redistributing unpaid work and care; building digital, financial and property assets; changing corporate culture and practice; improving public sector practices in employment and procurement; and strengthening visibility, collective voice and representation.
Speaking at the launch of the interim report on 22 September, Ban stressed that he is proud to call himself “a feminist.” Noting that gender equality remains “the greatest human rights challenge of our time,” Ban expressed confidence that by 2030 the planet will be a “50-50 planet.” He encouraged the Panel to set indicators of achievement by 2020, in order to measure progress towards substantive equality.
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, Executive Director of UN Women, noted that at the center of the report are the lives of women who have been left behind: poor women, women working in the informal sector, domestic workers, and women caring for their families and households without recognition or remuneration. She explained that the report calls for simple, doable steps with high impact, such as the elimination of discriminatory legislation or the ratification of UN International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 189 on domestic workers.
Luis Guillermo Solis Rivera, President of Costa Rica and HLP Co-Chair, said the report draws on “substantial and robust evidence” about key issues. Simona Scarpaleggia, CEO of IKEA Switzerland and HLP Co-Chair, added that the publication “provides the added value of concreteness by showing good examples on how society can come together to accelerate women’s economic empowerment.”
Following the report launch, UN Women and the City of New York brought the discussion to La Marqueta marketplace in East Harlem, New York, on 23 September. HLP members, representatives of women’s organizations and women entrepreneurs highlighted the report’s findings and their impact on their life.
Ban launched the 20-member HLP at the World Economic Forum in January 2016, to support and provide guidance on the implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development by improving economic outcomes for women and promoting women’s leadership in driving economic growth. The HLP brings together a diverse group of stakeholders including governments, private sector, trade unions, commercial banks, civil society organizations and multilateral organizations, such as UN Women, ILO, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank, with support for its work provided by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).
A second report of the panel, informed by the first year of implementation of the 2030 Agenda, will be issued in early 2017. [HeForShe IMPACT 10x10x10 University Parity Report] [UN Press Release on HeForShe Report] [UN Women Press Release on HeForShe Report] [Leave no one behind: a call to action for gender equality and women’s economic empowerment] [UN Press Release on HLP Report] [UN Women Remarks] [UN Women Press Release on HLP Report] [UN Women Press Release on Harlem Discussion] [HeForShe Website] [HLP Website] [IISD RS Story on HLP]