Target Gender Equality

Confidently achieve ambitious targets for women’s representation and leadership across business at all levels.


Program Overview


Target Gender Equality is an accelerator programme that drives business success, sustainability and contribution to Goal 5.5. Through facilitated performance analysis, capacity building workshops, peer to-peer learning and multi-stakeholder dialogue at the country-level, Target Gender Equality calls for bold action in setting and reaching ambitious corporate targets for women’s representation and leadership. Target Gender Equality will launch in 2020 with a focus on increasing the representation of women at the Board and Executive Management levels.

Through facilitated performance analysis, capacity building workshops, peer-to-peer learning, and multi-stakeholder dialogue at the country-level, Target Gender Equality will provide participants with the research, knowledge, and networks needed to confidently set and reach ambitious targets for women’s representation and leadership starting with the Board and Executive Management levels.

This initiative will build on and support the Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs), which ground the UN Global Compact’s work on gender equality and draws inspiration from the UN Secretary-General’s commitment to reach gender parity within the UN system.

Target Gender Equality will be rolled out at the country level in collaboration with Global Compact Local Networks, operating in nearly 70 countries around the world.


Why is it relevant?

Target Gender Equality is available in the UN Global Compact Local Networks shown in red.

At the current pace, the economic gender gap will take 257 years to close, a 55 year increase from 2019.

Women’s particpation and leadership in business is essential to drive business performance, advance corporate sustainability and achieve the SDGs.

Financial Case: Companies with high female particpation have annual returns 2.8 percentage points higher.

Sustainability Case: Women’s business leadership is linked to better ESG performance, including reduced greenhouse gas emissions, stronger worker relations and reduced incidence of fraud, insider trading, and other unethical practices.

Development Case: Empowering women and girls could contribute up to 28 million USD to global GDP by 2025.


Programme Rationale


Women’s participation and leadership in business is essential to business success and sustainable development

  • Gender diverse executive teams are 21% more likely to experience above-average profitability (Mckinsey, 2018)
  • There is a positive correlation between women’s representation in business leadership and environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance (IFC,2019)

Yet progress remains alarmingly slow.

  • At the current rate of progress, the economic gender gap will take 257 years to close (WEF,2019)
  • Women account for less than 30% of senior roles globally (Grant Thorton, 2019) and approximately 20% of board director seats worldwide (MSCI, 2019)

The disconnect between business commitment and action must be addressed.

  • 2,900+ CEOs have publicly embraced the Women Empowerment Principles (WEPs)
  • Data from the WEPs Gender Gap Analysis Tool suggests that only 28% of companies include time-bound, measurable goals, and targets on gender equality in their strategy

Program Objective


Encourage and support Global Compact Participants in setting and meeting ambitious corporate targets for women’s representation and leadership in business, starting with board and executive management levels.

  • Support ambitious corporate target setting through facilitated performance analysis and capacity building at the country level.
  • Promote the comprehensive business case for women’s full participation and leadership in business, including financial and nonfinancial performance.
  • Support companies in including more gender-inclusive businesses aligned with the Women Empowerment Principles.
  • Connect business with UN partners and other experts that can further support business action to advance SDG 5.5.
  • Foster policy and stakeholder dialogue at the country level to address barriers to women’s representation and leadership in business.
  • Showcase and promote women’s business leadership driving corporate sustainability and progress on the SDGs.
  • Demonstrate that gender equality is a key component of corporate sustainability and business’ contribution to the SDGs.

Sustainable Development Goal 5.5

Ensure women’s full and effective participation and equal opportunities for leadership at all levels of decision-making in political, economic, and public life.


Why Join?


Program Benefits

  • Confidently set ambitious and realistic corporate targets for gender equality demonstrating commitment and action to your employees, investors and other stakeholders
  • Understand your current gender equality performance through the facilitated use of the Women’s Empowerment Principles Gender Gap Analysis Tool
  • Engage in accelerated learning opportunities specific to your country context
  • Build a network of peers, UN partners, and experts to support your gender equality strategy and work collectively to tackle persistent barriers to gender equality
  • Showcase women leaders in your company who are driving business success, sustainability and contributions to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Eligibelity Criteria

The UN Global Compact invites companies to join Target Gender Equality. In order to take part, companies are required to be participants of the UN Global Compact and to meet the following criteria:

Currently engaged with a Global Compact Local Network in your region or willing to join.

Committed to strengthening corporate target setting and action to increase women’s representation and leadership in business

Willing to appoint two representatives to participate in programme activities and events and an executive-level “Ambassador” to follow programme developments, provide support and participatein high-level events


TGE Resources

You can also find the Video Target Gender Equality: Taking Action in Response to COVID-19, a co-developed TGE Video that features representatives from all 19 TGE LNs, GCO staff, and colleagues from partner organizations such as UN Women, UNICEF, the UN Human Rights Office, IFC, and WE Empower.

Academy Session: How Business Can Support Women in Times of Crisis

2020 Trends and Opportunities Webinar

WEPs Call To Action


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