The fifth edition of the Business & SDGs High Level Meeting, a high-level roundtable promoted by the Global Compact Network Italia (GCNI) and addressed to top management - CEOs and Presidents of Italian companies that are members of the United Nations Global Compact - on issues relevant to sustainable development, will be held in Milan on April 8, hosted by Edison.
This year the meeting will aim to stimulate discussion and sharing of experiences on the promotion of gender equality and women's empowerment. Equality of conditions and opportunities for all is a fundamental human right as well as a priority for a prosperous and sustainable world.
Governments, civil society and the United Nations are increasingly committed to achieving gender equality - also in line with SDG 5 of the Agenda 2030 - and see the private sector as a key ally. Recent research indicates, in fact, that the full participation of women in the economy would increase global GDP by $28 trillion by 2025 and that achieving gender equality at all levels of business would lead to increased profitability, productivity and overall organisational effectiveness. On the other hand, at the current rate of change, it will take 257 years globally to close the economic gender gap between men and women. The commitment of top management is essential to adopt a business approach that values the contribution of women to corporate growth and to create and spread a culture of inclusion within the company.
At the meeting, the Womens' Empowerment Principles (WEPs), a joint initiative of UN Global Compact and UN Women, will be presented. WEPs are a guide for companies aiming to maximize the potential of women in the workplace, in the market and in communities.
"Women constitute half the world's population, but are underrepresented in the global workforce. Barriers to women's empowerment not only constitute a violation of human rights, but also damage economic growth. That is why we call on business leaders around the world to implement the Womens' Empowerment Principles. More than 2,000 companies have signed the Principles, but to bridge the gender gap we need all companies to get on board. Because gender equality is more than a moral responsibility. Equality means business", said Lise Kingo, CEO and Executive Director, UN Global Compact.