Following is the text of UN Secretary-General António Guterres’ video message for the “Target Gender Equality Live” event organized by the United Nations Global Compact, today:
Excellencies, business leaders, friends,
It is a pleasure to greet you at Target Gender Equality Live. Today’s event builds on more than a decade of hard work to achieve gender equality in the business world.
The UN Global Compact and UN-Women launched the Women’s Empowerment Principles in 2010 to advance women’s leadership in the workplace, the marketplace and the community. Translating those principles from business commitment into concrete, measurable business practice is the goal of Target Gender Equality.
Hundreds of companies across every region are participating in this initiative. I hope thousands more will join. We must all act urgently because the COVID-19 pandemic poses a dire threat. The social and economic impacts of the crisis are affecting women worst of all.
Backtracking on the path to gender equality is not just bad for women. It will undermine the resilience of entire economies and societies. And it will prevent the world from fulfilling the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
Gender equality is essentially a question of power. We live in a male-dominated world with a male-dominated culture. This is true of the public and private sector alike. For the private sector, women’s equal participation and leadership is both a moral duty and a business imperative.
When women have income and resources — including access to digital technology — they are more likely to invest in ways that benefit their families and communities. Experience also shows that businesses with women well represented on their corporate boards are more stable and profitable.
The world needs the talents and perspectives of all women to solve our biggest challenges, from rebuilding the global economy to fighting systemic racism to tackling climate change. That is why gender equality is a strategic priority for the UN Global Compact and for the UN system itself.
Gender equality means business. Let us unite to make it a reality.