2018 Women’s Empowerment Principles Forum

  • Overview

    Empowering women to participate fully in economic life is essential to building stronger economies and improving the quality of life for both women and men. The private sector has a central and active role to play in achieving gender equality and women’s empowerment under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Development is about how we all choose to do business and how we reflect principles of equality on an everyday level, so they permeate our cultures, values, performance and business practices.

    Companies drive gains in productivity, competitiveness and innovation by developing policies and practices to improve gender equality in the workplace, marketplace and community. Developing gender responsive procurement and sourcing from women-owned businesses is another key way companies are both promoting equality and opening themselves up to new market opportunities.

    We cannot meet the objectives of the 2030 Agenda and its 17 Global Goals unless women and girls are on an equal footing with men and boys, and the private sector is essential to this mission.

    In the spirit of advancing the crucial role of the private sector to achieve Goal 5: Gender Equality, UN Women, the United Nations Global Compact and the United Nations Office for Partnerships have joined forces to organize the annual Women’s Empowerment Principles Forum. The Forum will take place in New York on 15 March 2018 and provide a platform for presenting ongoing, successful business initiatives that aim to advance women’s empowerment, economic inclusion and entrepreneurship globally.

    The objectives of this half-day Forum are to:

    • Build awareness of business innovations that accelerate women’s empowerment and have a real impact on the quality of life for women, men, families and communities;
    • Identify key actions to address the financing gap for women’s empowerment; and
    • Drive change and commit to scaled-up partnerships between the UN and the private sector to achieve the 2030 Agenda through women’s economic empowerment.

    The ambition of the conference is to showcase private sector initiatives for gender equality and to examine how these activities can be scaled up. Private sector representatives have been invited to demonstrate their work fast-tracking women’s equal participation in the workforce, share their personal experience as women entrepreneurs, as well as to discuss how business can help ensure women’s access to finance and empowerment across the value chain.


    10.30 - 13.00


    Master of Ceremonies

    Laura Trevelyan, BBC Anchor/Correspondent

    15.00 - 15.15

    Welcome and Opening remarks

    • Ms. Amina J. Mohammed, Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations
    • H.E Mrs. Geraldine Byrne Nason, CSW62 Chair, Permanent Representative of Ireland to the United Nations
    • Ambassador Mara Marinaki, Principal Advisor on Gender and on the Implementation of UNSCR 1325 on Women, Peace and Security, European Union

    15.15 - 15.30 

    Fireside Chat

    Moderator: Laura Trevelyan, BBC Anchor/Correspondent

    • Ms. Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Director of UN Women
    • Ms. Lise Kingo, CEO & Executive Director, ‎United Nations Global Compact


    15.30 - 16.10 

    PANEL 1: Innovation and Infrastructure for and by Rural Women

    Moderator: Laura Stachel, MD MPH, Co-Founder & Executive Director, We Care Solar


    • Joanne Farrell, Managing Director, Rio Tinto
    • Michèle Sabban, President, R20 Regions of Climate Action
    • Eduardo Martinez, President and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer, UPS
    • Scott N. Mitchell, President & CEO, Sumitomo Chemical America
    • Katherine Lucey, Founder and CEO, Solar Sister
    • Luz Maria Jaramillo, President, Pavimentos Colombia

    16.10 - 16.15 

    Keynote Remarks

    Padma Lakshmi, author, actress, model, television host and executive producer

    16.15 – 16.55 

    PANEL 2: Transforming investing for Gender Equality

    Moderator:  Linda-Eling Lee, Head Research, MSCI


    • Stephanie Oueda Cruz, Lead Investment Office – Gender and Diversity, IDB Invest
    • Diana van Maasdijk, Co-Founder & Executive Director, Equileap
    • Ahu Serter, Founder and President, Arya Women Investment Platform
    • Tracy B. Warson, Head of Citi Private Bank, North America, Citigroup
    • Alison Pyott, CFP, Partner/Senior Wealth Manager, Veris Wealth Partners

    16.55 – 17.00

    Keynote Remarks

     Patricia Greene, Director, Women’s Bureau, US Department of Labour

    17:00 – 17:40

    PANEL 3: The Future of work

    Moderator: Amber Nystrom, Director of Social Fusion, Business Incubator of the Women’s Technology Cluster


    • Bryan Smith, Senior Vice President and Chief Human Rights Officer, NASDAQ
    • Andrea Avila, CEO, Randstad Argentina and Uruguay
    • Vinicius Carvalho Pinheiro, Special Representative to the UN and Director of ILO in NY, ILO
    • Ana Dolores Roman, Country Manager and PEH Lead, Pfizer Ecuador, Peru & Bolivia
    • Haig R. Nalbantian, Senior Partner at Mercer & Founder of Mercer’s Workforce Sciences Institute.

    Discussant from the floor:

    Alexa Roscoe, Digital Economy Lead, Gender Secretariat, IFC

    17:40 – 18:00

    Closing remarks

    • Allison Tummon Kamphuis, Gender Equality and Children’s Safe Drinking Water Program Leader, Procter & Gamble
    • Anna Falth, Manager - WEPs, UN Women