Press release: Second panel report shows how economically empowered women are at the core of an inclusive and sustainable global economy

Date: Thursday, March 16, 2017

UN Secretary-General António Guterres received the High-Level Panel on Women's Economic Empowerment's final report. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown
Panel Co-Chairs Simona Scarpaleggia, CEO IKEA Switzerland, and Luis Guillermo Solís Rivera, President of Costa Rica, present UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres with the final report of the UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel on Women’s Economic Empowerment. Photo: UN Women/Ryan Brown.

New York — The UN Secretary-General’s High-Level Panel (HLP) on Women’s Economic Empowerment has presented its second report with final recommendations to the UN Secretary-General António Guterres. In its report, the Panel lays out concrete actions for accelerating progress towards women’s full and equal economic participation. The report also acknowledges that gender inequalities remain stubborn across the world, but they can be overcome if systematic barriers are removed.

The HLP follows up on the seven main drivers of transformation, introduced in its first report, that was published in September 2016. These are: 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.

The second report, reflecting the work by expert groups including Panel members, identifies practical actions for taking the agenda forward. It elaborates on how economic policies, legal reforms and investments make up an enabling environment that can bring transformational change in the world of work and ensure that one billion women become economically empowered. As UN Secretary-General António Guterres has highlighted:

“Women’s economic empowerment is at the heart of the 2030 Agenda. We will not achieve the Sustainable Development Goals if there is no accelerated action to empower women economically. We know that women’s participation in all spheres of life, including in the economy, is essential to sustainable and durable peace and to the realization of human rights.”

The High-Level Panel emphasizes the powerful role of public, private and civil society partnerships and encourages new collaborations, promoting new commitments that will carry this work forward. “With the second report we are also taking another step in building momentum within governments all over the world. We are about to launch a group of Champions with support from more than 20 governments who take the actions and recommendations from the panel further”, explains co-Chair Luis Guillermo Solis, President of Costa Rica.

“Now is the time to act”, continues co-Chair Simona Scarpaleggia, CEO of IKEA Switzerland, and stresses the importance of demonstrating accountability. “The report is out and it shows how all sectors – public, private and civil society – can contribute to overcome systemic barriers for women’s economic empowerment. In IKEA Group”, she says, “we are committed to doing our part by reaching gender equality in all leadership positions providing equal opportunities and equal pay by 2020”.

Individual Panel members and the many institutions they are associated with have already made significant commitments to take the agenda forward and more commitments were shared during the release of the second report, such as:

  • MET Community’s commitment to promote the use of technology through [their] online platform to connect, train and provide visibility to female entrepreneurs in particular Latino rural women, Afro-American and indigenous women who want to start businesses;
  • The OECD’s plans to support the G20 commitment to reduce the gender gap in labour force participation by 25 percent ahead of 2025 by setting normative standards through its gender equality recommendations on education, employment, and entrepreneurship, and public life;
  • The Caribbean Domestic Workers Network’s continued advocacy across the region for the ratification of ILO Convention 189 setting labour standards for home workers and domestic workers;
  • The Government of Finland’s continued support of daycare and early childhood education as essential parts of development programmes and a prerequisite for women’s economic and political empowerment and their ability to get decent work; and
  • Care International’s commitment to ensure that 30 million women will have greater access and control over their economic resources by 2020 through technological solutions and scaling of the its model of Village Savings and Loan Associations and the development of a new global partnership for ensuring access to financial services for the world’s poorest women.