Target Gender Equality LIVE: UN Global Compact convenes business leaders to discuss the impact of Covid-19 and the climate crisis on gender equality

UNITED NATIONS, New York, 15 March 2022  The private sector must do more to advance gender equality in the workplace, marketplace, and community, as it continues to be impacted by a range of interconnected emergencies Sanda Ojiambo, the CEO and Executive Director of the United Nations Global Compact, noted in her opening remarks at TARGET GENDER EQUALITY LIVE, which took place today during the 66th Commission on the Status of Women.

“It is more important than ever to have this discussion as the world continues to face a range of interconnected emergencies: the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, the climate crisis, rising inequalities, financial instability and, of course, the war and humanitarian emergency in Ukraine” Sanda Ojiambo, CEO & Executive Director of the UN Global Compact told the virtual gathering of over 3,200 business, civil society, and government leaders.

The UN Global Compact announced it has developed a Business Guide to provide concrete action for businesses to support the UN Secretary-General’s three-month Flash Appeal for people in Ukraine, and the Regional Refugee Response Plan as women and children bear the brunt of the crisis.

Dmytro Sakharuk, Executive Officer of DTEK, a Ukrainian utility company, joined the event live from Ukraine and spoke about the impact of the war.

The President of the UN General Assembly,  Abdulla Shahid, noted the need to prioritize gender equality as we look towards recovery from the pandemic: “As we craft and implement recovery policies, we must prioritize the gender dimension. Not only because it is right, but because we need all hands on deck to finally put this pandemic behind us. Only with the full and unhindered involvement of women can we truly recover better.”

This year’s TARGET GENDER EQUALITY  LIVE was held as research recently released by the UN Global Compact, UN Women, the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and BSR showed businesses are increasing their efforts to promote gender equality as they continue to tackle pandemic challenges but levels of implementation, measurement, and transparency remain low. 

Climate and gender activist, Julieta Martinez, speaking from Chile, noted how the business will be much more effective in fighting climate change if it promotes climate-resilient solutions with a focus on women: “For years, we’ve been trying to solve problems from isolated agendas, from boards of ten or five people deciding our future and presence. It’s time to change our way of creating solutions. It’s time to connect gender equality with the climate crisis. It’s time to say loud and clear that the climate crisis has a woman’s face.”

To address these concerns, UN Global Compact CEO & Executive Director Sanda Ojiambo also announced that the TARGET GENDER EQUALITY Accelerator initiative, which has already supported more than 800 companies to set and meet ambitious targets for women’s representation and leadership, is now open for new registrations from participating companies of the UN Global Compact in over 50 countries. As Adam Roy Gordon, Director of the Global Compact Network USA pointed out at the event “It is encouraging to see that more than 90% of TARGET GENDER EQUALITY participants around the world either have targets for gender equality in place, are adapting existing targets, or drafting new targets.” 

Moreover, the event showcased a new video launching the organization’s new workstream focusing on gender-responsive procurement (GRP), developed in partnership with the Women’s Entrepreneurship Accelerator. The video features a UN Women report that builds the business case for adopting GRP. The workstream will offer learning materials on the integral role business has to play in working with more women-owned businesses in their supply chain, as well as supporting suppliers to adopt more gender-responsive business practices.


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