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The business imperative of women’s equal participation

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US Vice President Kamala Harris speaking on women's equal participation at the UN event
 
From UN leaders to the US Vice President, everyone was calling for women’s equal participation in public this week. Kamala Harris said that “the status of women is the status of democracy” in her first speech before the United Nations in her role as Vice President of the United States. United Nations Chief António Guterres made a special appeal to corporates at an event by the UN Global Compact for more women in leadership.
“For the private sector, women’s equal participation and leadership is both a moral duty and a business imperative. Experience also shows that businesses with women well represented on their corporate boards are more stable and profitable,” he said in a video message at Target Gender Equality LIVE which was held virtually due to COVID restrictions. Target Gender Equality works with businesses so they can adopt sustainable and socially responsible policies.
UN Global Compact and UN Women launched the Women’s Empowerment Principles in the year 2010. Over the last decade, several hundred global companies have embraced these principles and incorporated them into their policies. Guterres hopes that more private and public enterprises will join this list.
Gender parity makes business sense as well. Deputy Secretary-General Amina Mohammed said that rather than ignoring gender equality, promoting it will add $13 trillion to the global GDP by the year 2030. The corporate sector should finance and encourage women-led business; they could create more jobs for a wider workforce while keeping households afloat. Mohammed called for women business leaders to come together and not only finance women entrepreneurs but also protect women workers.
The fact that women’s participation in public is a must for recovery from the pandemic was made clear by Michelle Bachelet at the joint session of the Commission on the Status of Women. Bachelet, who is UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, showed how countries led by women in government fared much better during the COVID-19 pandemic than the rest of the world.
The women leaders listened to scientists and made decisions for the good of citizens rather than gloating in their false achievements as some other Presidents did. The regions where women have better representation in national cabinets invest more in social justice and climate change action. She encouraged world leaders to appoint 50% women to their Cabinets and to train women for bigger roles in the government.